Her name was actually Ruby Catherine Stevens, but movie and television viewers knew her as Barbara Stanwyck.
Mention her motion picture work and 1932's, "The Bitter Tea of General Yen", 1937's, "Stella Dallas", both 1941's, "The Lady Eve", and, "Meet John Doe", 1944's, "Double Indemnity", 1945's, "Christmas in Connecticut", and, 1947's, "The Two Mrs. Carrolls" are sure to come up.
However, this article is not about those seven classic films, but Nine Westerns out of the other seventy-eight motion pictures the actress made. Not including her many television appearances between 1956 and 1986. Which included being billed, weekly, as "Miss Barbara Stanwyck", portraying "Victoria Barkley", on the 1965 through 1969, television series "The Big Valley".
ANNIE OAKLEY released November, 15, 1935
"Annie Oakley" is listed as a Western, probably for the subject matter, but it is really not a Western in the sense my reader knows most Westerns.
This fictional biographical motion picture was directed by George Stevens. Prior to this motion picture, Stevens was a cinematographer on seventy-four movies between 1923 and 1931. By this picture, starting in 1930, George Stevens had directed six motion pictures and twenty-seven short subjects. His last film, as director, was 1935's, "Alice Adams", starring Katharine Hepburn, and Fred MacMurray. Stevens followed this picture with 1936's, "Swing Time", starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers.
There were four writers involved with the screenplay. Joseph A. Fields and Ewart Adamson worked together on the story. Joel Sayre and John Twist wrote the screenplay. The question of which of the four changed the real-life husband of Annie Oakley, Frank E. Butler, into the character of "Toby Walker", I could not locate.
Barbara Stanwyck portrayed "Annie Oakley". Stanwyck had just been seen in 1935's, "Red Salute", with co-star Robert Young. She would follow this picture with 1936's, fictional version of the true story of "A Message to Garcia", co-starring with Wallace Beery and John Boles.
Above, Barbara Stanwyck, below the real Annie Oakley, born Phoebe Ann Mosey.
Preston Foster portrayed "Toby Walker". Foster had just starred in producer Merian C. Cooper's, 1935, "The Last Days of Pompeii". Cooper will always be remembered as the creator of 1933's, "King Kong".
Preston Foster followed this picture with 1935's, "We're Only Human", co-starring Jane Wyatt. Back in 1932, Foster portrayed the title character in the first Technicolor Horror movie, "Dr. X", starring Fay Wray and Lionel Atwill.
Above, Preston Foster, and below, the real Frank E. Butler, Annie Oakley's husband until his death in November 1926.
Melyvn Douglas portrayed "Jeff Hogarth". Douglas had just co-starred with Sylvia Sydney in 1935's, "Mary Burns, Fugitive". He followed this film portraying "Michael Lanyard" in 1935's, "The Lone Wolf Returns".
Above, Barbara Stanwyck, Melvyn Douglas, and Preston Foster.
Moroni Olsen portrayed "William 'Buffalo Bill' Cody". Olsen had just portrayed "Porthos" in the 1935 version of "The Three Musketeers", starring Walter Abel and Paul Lukas. He followed this picture with the comedy mystery, 1935's, "Seven Keys to Baldpate".
Above, Barbara Stanywyck, Moroni Olsen, and Melvyn Douglas. Below, the real "Buffalo Bill" Cody at the time.
Chief Thunderbird portrayed "Chief Sitting Bull". His actual name was Richard Davis Thunderbird and he was of Cheyenne descent and appeared in twenty motion pictures.
Above, Chief Thunderbird, and below the real Chief Sitting Bull of the Lakota Sioux.
According to the screenplay, the movie starts out in the late 1800's in Ohio, the real Phoebe Ann Mosey wasn't born until August 13, 1860, nine-months prior to the start of the American Civil War. The real Frank E. Butler and Phoebe Mosey were married on June 20, 1882, in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. The two joined "Buffalo Bill's Wild West" in 1885, and yes there was a shooting match that Frank lost to his future wife, but that was on Thanksgiving Day, 1875. At the time, he was twenty-eight, and she was fifteen!
Below, a readable publicity sheet for the motion picture with some scenes.
In the story, "Annie Oakley", there is no "Phoebe", brings quail she shot to Cincinnati hotel owner, "James Maclvor", played by Andy Clyde, to serve his guests. "Oakley" always shoots the quail in the head, meaning there's no buckshot in the rest of the bird when cooked.
"Maclvor" is having a large banquet for the "greatest shot in the whole world", "Toby Walker". At the banquet, "Jeff Hogarth" signs "Toby" to a contract with "Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show".
"Maclvor" challenges "Walker" to a shooting contest the next morning against a local shootist name "Andy Oakley".
The morning of the match "Toby" is shocked to discover that "Andy" is an "Annie", attempts to call the contest off, but nobody will do it. The match ends in a tie, and the two sharpshooters go into sudden death. During which, "Annie's" mother, played by Margaret Armstrong, suggests she miss the next shot, which she does, and "Toby Walker" is gracious, but "Jeff Hogarth" suspects the truth.
The actual match had Frank E. Butler betting a $100 with Cincinnati hotelier Jack Frost, equal to $2500 in 2021, that he could beat any local sharpshooter. According to the "PBS Biography Website",
The last opponent Butler expected was a five-foot-tall [1.52 m] 15-year-old girl named Annie.
Barbara Stanwyck was twenty-eight-years-old when she made this motion picture.
According to one story, Butler lost the match by missing the twenty-fifth shot, and another says the bird he was shooting at, fell dead two-feet beyond the boundary line. Whichever is true, Frank E. Butler started to court Phoebe Ann Mosey.
I return to the motion picture story:
"Annie" promises to pay back all the people who bet on her, but at dinner with "Jeff Hogarth", learns he never bet the money she gave him. He gives it back and offers "Annie Oakley" a contract with "Buffalo Bill", which she accepts, because she's already in love with "Toby".
A few days after "Annie" met "Buffalo Bill" and "Sitting Bull", "Toby" overhears "Buffalo Bill" telling "Jeff" he has to let "Annie" go, because she lacks showmanship. In response, "Toby" teachers her some fancy shooting tricks.
The rest of the story is a typical on again, off again, depression era romance. However, a man with a grudge against the show attempts to shoot "Sitting Bull", "Toby" grabs the gun as it goes off, and is temporarily blinded. He hides this from the others and during a staged shooting match with "Annie", accidently shoots her in the hand. "Toby" leaves the show and later, with another woman, meets "Annie" once more. Before he can stop her, the other woman tells "Annie" she has always been nothing but bad luck for "Toby". "Annie" walks away and goes on a very successful European tour with "Buffalo Bill's Wild West". When the show returns to New York City, "Sitting Bull" spots "Toby" in the audience. He reunites "Annie" with "Toby" for the happy ending the audience was expecting.
Returning to reality, Annie Oakley died on November 3, 1926, eighteen-days later, on November 21, 1926, Frank died from starvation. According to one story, this was over his not being able to cope with the loss of Annie. Frank E. Butler spent his last days at the home of her sister, Hulda Haines.
Twelve motion pictures followed "Annie Oakley", and what could be argued as being Barbara Stanwyck's first, true, Western motion picture opened.
UNION PACIFIC with the world premiere on April 28, 1939, in Omaha, Nebraska.
The motion picture was produced and directed by Cecil B. DeMille for Paramount Pictures. The previous year, DeMille released "The Buccaneer", starring Fredric March as New Orleans pirate "Jean Lafitte". He would follow this picture with 1940's, "Northwest Mounted Police", starring Gary Cooper, Madeline Carroll and Paulette Goddard.
The screenplay, like most of DeMille's was written by eight people in different stages of its development.
The story was loosely based upon a novel, "The Trouble Shooter", by Ernest Haycox. The adaptation of the novel required Jack Cunningham, Frederick Hazlitt Brennan, Jeanie Macpherson, and Stanley Rauh.
The actual screenplay was written by Walter DeLeon, C. Gardner Sullivan, and Jesse Laskey, Jr.
Barbara Stanwyck portrayed "Mollie Monahan". She had just been seen in 1938's, "The Mad Miss Manton", co-starring with Henry Fonda, and followed this picture with 1939's "Golden Boy", co-starring with Adolphe Menjou, and William Holden.
Joel McCrea portrayed the novel's title character, "Jeff Butler". McCrea was just in the forgotten comedy, 1938's, "Youth Takes a Swing". He followed this movie with another forgotten picture, 1939's, "They Shall Have Music", actually starring the world renowned violinist, Jascha Heifetz.
Akim Tamiroff portrayed "Fiesta". The Russian born character actor had just been seen co-starring with Anna May Wong in 1939's, "King of Chinatown", he would follow this picture starring with Lloyd Nolan in 1939's, "The Magnificent Fraud".
Robert Preston portrayed "Dick Allen". Preston was just in 1939's, "Disbarred", but followed this picture as one of the three "Geste" brothers, in 1939's, "Beau Geste". The other two brothers were portrayed by Gary Cooper and Ray Milland.
Lynne Overman portrayed "Leach Overmile". Character actor Overman had just starred in the crime drama, 1939's, "Persons in Hiding", and followed this feature with 1939's, "Death of a Champion".
Brian Donlevy portrayed "Sid Campeau". Donlevy had played "Barshee" in 1939's, "Jesse James", starring Tyrone Power and Henry Fonda. He would next be seen as "Sergeant Markoff" in 1939's, "Beau Geste". My article, "Brian Donlevy: Atomic Bombs, Space Aliens, Insects, and Daikaiju", can be read at:
The picture is pure Cecil B. DeMille over the top film making. The year is 1862 and the Civil War is one year old, President Abraham Lincoln signs the "Pacific Railroad Act", which will push the Union Pacific railroad west from Omaha, Nebraska, to meet the Central Pacific railroad, from Sacramento, California, and connect the majority of the country by rail.
The screenplay has banker, "Asa M. Barrows", played by Henry Kolker, wanting to obstruct the Union Pacific and profit from that action. He hires gambler "Sid Campeau" to carry-out his dirty work, and "Campeau's" main henchman is "Jack Cordray", played by Anthony Quinn, seen on the right below. Protecting the Union Pacific is "Trouble Shooter", "Jeff Butler", and his two sidekicks, "Fiesta", and "Leach".
Meanwhile, "Jeff's" old war buddy, "Dick Allen", is "Campeau's" partner and "Jeff's" competition for the train engineer's daughter, "Molly Monahan", and that's the basic storyline in DeMille's hands.
In typical DeMille fashion there are two train wrecks, the first is a derailment from an Indian attack. In it, "Dick" joins "Jeff" and "Mollie" to fight them off, but she is shot.
After the attack, "Jeff" lets "Dick" get away. The second train wreck happens in the ice and snow crossing the mountains as the weight of the train is to much for a bridge and it collapses killing "Mollie's" father, the train engineer.
At the film's climax, the two train companies have come together, "Dick" finally realizing his mistakes goes after "Campeau", and is killed.
"Jeff" turns and kills "Campeau", and that scene is followed by the flag waving driving of the "Golden Spike" uniting the country/ DeMille borrowed the real "Golden Spike" from California's Stanford University for the scene.
The film ends with "Jeff" and "Mollie" being married.
It would be another eighteen motion pictures, before Barbara Stanwyck was seen again in a Western.
CALIFORNIA released on January 14, 1947
The movie was produced and directed by John Farrow. Among his work is the classic "B" adventure drama, 1939's, "Five Came Back", starring Chester Morris and dramatic actress Lucille Ball. A year later it was 1940's, "A Bill of Divorcement", starring Maureen O'Hara and Adolphe Menjou, in 1946, Farrow directed Alan Ladd, and Brian Donlevy as writer Richard Henry Dana, in Dana's "Two Years Before the Mast".
Boris Ingster and the uncredited Seton I. Miller came up with the story, but it was Frank Butler and Theodore Strauss who turned the story into a screenplay.
Ray Milland portrayed "Jonathan Trumbo". Milland had just appeared with Teresa Wright and Sir Cedric Hardwicke in 1946's, "Imperfect Lady", and followed this feature with 1947's, "The Trouble with Women", co-starring, again, with Teresa Wright and with Brian Donlevy.
Barbara Stanwyck portrayed "Lily Bishop". Barbara Stanwyck had just co-starred with Van Heflin and Lizabeth Scott in 1946's, "The Strange Love of Martha Ivers". She would follow this picture with 1947's "The Two Mrs. Carroll's", co-starring with Humphrey Bogart and Alexis Smith".
Barry Fitzgerald portrayed "Michael Fabian". The character actor had just been seen in 1946's, "Two Years Before the Mast", and followed this film with the John Farrow comedy, 1947's, "Easy Come, Easy Go", co-starring with Diana Lynn and Sonny Tufts.
George Coulouris portrayed "Captain Pharaoh Coffin". He was a member of Orson Welles' "Mercury Theater". Coulouris had just been seen in director Don Siegel's, 1946, "The Verdict", starring Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre. He followed this feature film with 1947's, "Mr. District Attorney", based upon a popular radio crime show.
The audience meets army deserter, "Lieutenant Jonathan Trumbo", who is guiding settlers into Spanish California. The year will be implied as 1848, by news of Gold being discovered in the territory, but that happens shortly after the three main characters are established.
At the films start, the wagon train has stopped at a small town, and from a saloon, "Lily Bishop", has been thrown out for cheating at poker. She wants to join the wagon train, "Trumbo" doesn't want her, but farmer "Michael Fabian" asks her to ride on his wagon with him.
In the saloon, "Trumbo" meets a farmer named "Whitey", played by Frank Faylen, who tells him that "Coffin" is forcing farmers off their land by charging extremely high prices for water and protection against his own gang. Next, "Jonathan" gets into a fight with one of "Pharaoh's" henchmen, "Mr. Pike", portrayed by Albert Dekker, center below.
Still later, "Jonathan" and "Lily" becomes engaged in a high stakes poker game and he gets his revenge, by becoming the new owner of the saloon.
Above, "Booth Pennock" reminds "Don Luis" of his "Loyalty" to "Coffin Pharaoh".
Meanwhile, "Lily" moves into "Coffin's" hacienda, where "Pharaoh" plans a big fiesta in the hope of convincing the politicians against Statehood. While, at the same time, planning the seizure of all United States government property in California.
At the Statehood Convention "Lily" warns "Fabian" not to give a speech against "Coffin", but he gives one indicting "Coffin Pharaoh" for wanting to make California an "independent empire under his rule".
One of "Coffin's" men tries to shoot "Michael Fabian", but a farmer jumps in front and takes the bullet. "Jonathan Trumbo" shoots and kills the assailant resulting in "Pharaoh's" supporters deserting him and "Lily" realizing his treachery for the first time.
The next morning a Padre arrives to perform the marriage of "Lily" to "Coffin", but she has fled to warn "Fabian" that "Coffin's" men have been sent to murder him. However, she is too late and "Michael" is killed in his vineyards before "Trumbo" and a posse arrive. "Jonathan" now goes to "Coffin's" hacienda, and finds him hallucinating that the slaves on his ship have escaped and are about to kill him. At which point, "Lily" shoots and kills "Coffin", before "Jonathan" can be killed by the other.
The story ends at "Michael Fabian's" grave with "Jonathan Trumbo" telling "Lily Bishop" that he's returning to the army to face whatever charges there will be and "Lily" promising to wait for him.
THE FURIES had its world premiere in Tucson, Arizona, on July 21, 1950
This was a major production, once again, from Paramount Pictures, but with a large budget.
The motion picture was directed by Anthony Mann. Mann had just directed James Stewart in the 1950 classic Western, "Winchester '73", and followed this Western with another, 1950's, "Devil's Doorway", starring Robert Taylor.
The screenplay was based upon the Niven Busch novel "The Furies". Another of his novels was 1944's, "Duel in the Sun", and among his original screenplay work were 1940's, "The Westerner", and 1946's, "The Postman Always Rings Twice".
The actual screenplay was written by Charles Schnee. Schnee wrote both 1948's,"Red River", and "They Live My Night". He had just written the screenplay for 1950's, "The Next Voice You Hear", about a typical American family, James Whitemore and Nancy Davis, hearing God speak to them over their radio.
Barbara Stanwyck portrayed "Vance Jeffords". She had just been seen in 1950's, "No Man of Her Own", co-starring John Lund, and followed this Western with 1950's, "To Please a Lady" co-starring Clark Gable.
Beulah Bondi portrayed "Mrs. Anaheim". Bondi had just been in 1950's, "The Baron of Arizona", starring Vincent Price, and next was seen in 1952's, "Lone Star", starring Clark Gable, Ava Gardner, and Broderick Crawford.
In the "Encyclopedia Britannica" article, "Anthony Mann: The 1950's Westerns":
The Furies (1950) was a Freudian western that starred Barbara Stanwyck as Vance, who struggles with the complex legacy of her father (Walter Huston), whose vast ranch she will inherit. The film was not a commercial success but has since come to be considered one of Mann’s greatest westerns.
While, Motion picture scholar, Michael Adams, wrote for the "City University of New York":
Based on a novel by Niven Busch, it is almost as lurid as my favorite over-the-top western, Duel in the Sun, also from a Busch novel.
The Furies is compelling for several other reasons, including its blending of literary archetypes borrowed from Greek tragedy, Shakespeare, especially King Lear and Macbeth, and, as Mann notes in a 1957 interview included in the print extras, Dostoesky’s The Idiot.
In the 1870's,"Temple Caddy, (T.C.), Jeffords" returns from San Francisco to the New Mexico Territory and the sprawling ranch he named "The Furies". "T.C." appears to rule the entire territory like a "King", pays for things not in cash but "T.C. Notes", and has major contempt for squatters on his property including the "Herrera" family who have been there before his children were born.
In "T.C.'s" view, "Vance", the daughter he loves, can do no wrong, but his son, "Clay", played by John Bromfield, seen below with Stanwyck, is a coward and a no good.
An overview of the plot:
"Vance", is obsessed with obtaining wealth and is as ruthless as her father, if not a little more. She hides a secret from him, since childhood she and "Juan Herrera" have a secret bond and he is in love with her.
To keep his ranch going, "T.C." requires a new loan from the Anaheim Bank. Over the years he has done business with the bank without any problems arising, but now he is told the loan goes through only if all the squatters are off his land. At the moment, "T.C." doesn't take any action, because he has another trip to San Francisco to take.
Before he goes, "T.C." assures "Vance" that once he returns, she will run the ranch. He puts one stipulation on that promise, he will give her a $50,000 dowry, IF she marries a man HE APPROVES!
Enter "Rip Darrow", a saloon owner and a mercenary by trade, who is out for revenge against "T.C. Jeffords". "Rip" wants to reclaim a piece of fertile land called the "Darrow Strip" that his father lost in a legal battle with "Jeffords" and was then murdered.
Against her father's wishes, "Vance" has become intrigued with "Rip", and believes she has gained control over the saloon owner, but he has his own plans. What will complicate things is "Vance" discovering she really does love "Rip".
Enter "T.C.", he offers "Rip" a bribe of $50,000 to stay away from "Vance". Again, thinking she controls "Rip", "Vance" is shocked when he accepts her fathers bribe and uses it to open a bank next to his saloon.
Some squatters, including the "Herrera" family, are still on "T.C.'s" land and he's back in San Francisco. "Rip Darrow" and the Anaheim bank, had informed "T.C." that they are refusing to renew his loan unless he finally drives the squatters off his land. Now, "Vance" orders their ruthless ranch boss, "El Tigre", to burn-out the squatters except the Herrera's".
At the same time, "T.C." returns from San Francisco, but with his fiancée "Flo Burnett" the reason he kept taking the trips there.
"Vance" becomes jealous of her step-mother, "Flo", and that jealousy turns into uncontrolled rage. When "Flo" announces she has hired a "manager" to run the ranch and drive off the "Herrera's".
"Vance" hurls a pair of scissors at "Flo", permanently disfiguring her face, and rides to warn the "Herrera" family.
"Vance" stands with "Juan" and the "Herrera's" as her father and his men arrive. "Juan", who as I mentioned, is in love with "Vance", realizes she fears for her father's life, if things get out of hand. As a result, he surrenders, "T.C." agrees to let the "Herrera's" live peacefully, BUT hangs "Juan" for stealing a horse.
Now, "Vance" vows revenge and starts traveling throughout the territory buying up her father's notes.
She returns, goes to "Rip" with her plan, he allies himself with her, and lends "Vance" the $50,000 she will need to bring her father down.
By this time, "T.C." has become completely broke! "Flo" has become an alcoholic and refuses to help "T.C." by paying his debts off with her own money, because she is now ugly and he might just up and leave her.
The cattle have to be taken to market and "T.C." leaves on a cattle drive in the hopes of raising money.
Meanwhile, "Vance" and "Rip" convince the Anaheim's to extend "T.C.'s" loan, and then she secretly buys 20,000 head of her father's cattle. "T.C." finishes his cattle drive to find his daughter paying him for the cattle with his own "T.C. Notes". "T.C." impressed with what "Vance" has done and how she did it to him, accepts his defeat without fighting back.
The story ends with father and daughter reunited, "Rip" making peace with "T.C.", and telling him he plans to marry "Vance". As the three walk into town from the stockyards, "Juan Herrera's" mother shoots "T.C." in the back, and as he dies. He asks "Vance" and "Rip" to bury his name with him, as his reputation would be a burden on his heir. However, as the two bring "T.C.'s" body back to "The Furies", they agree to name a son, "T.C.".
CATTLE QUEEN OF MONTANA released on November 18, 1954
The picture was directed by Allan Dwan. Starting with silent shorts in 1911 and ending with the low budget 1961 Science Fiction picture, "Most Dangerous Man Alive", starring Debra Paget. Dwan's directing career totaled four-hundred-and-eight films.
The story was by Thomas Blackburn, a "B" movie and television Western writer.
The screenplay was from Robert Blees, a "B" movie and television writer, and Howard Estabrook. Among Estabrook's screenplays are the 1935, Freddie Bartholomew version of Charles Dicken's, "David Copperfield", the Gary Cooper and Merle Oberon, 1938, "The Cowboy and the Lady", Douglas Fairbanks, Jr's, 1941, version of Alexander Dumas' "The Corsican Brothers", 1944's, "The Bridge of San Luis Rey", and the Clark Gable, Ava Gardner, and Broderick Crawford, 1952, "Lone Star".
Barbara Stanwyck portrayed "Sierra Nevada Jones". Stanwyck had just been in the film-noir, 1954's, "Witness to Murder", co-starring with George Sanders and Gary Merrill. She would follow this Western with the next Western I will be mentioning.
Ronald Reagan portrayed "Farrell". The role was offered to Robert Mitchum, who after reading the screenplay turned it down.
Reagan had just been in 1954's, "Prisoner of War", co-starring with Steve Forrest and Dewey Martin. He followed this picture with 1955's, "Tennessee's Partner", co-starring with John Payne and Rhonda Fleming.
My article, "Ronald Reagan Motion Picture and Television Actor", is found at:
Gene Evans portrayed "Tom McCord". Evans had starred in director Sam Fuller's controversial Korean War drama, 1951's, "The Steel Helmet", and would star in the British Science Fiction picture, 1959's, "Behemoth the Sea Serpent", aka: "The Giant Behemoth". On television he starred in the family series, "My Friend Flicka", from 1955 into 1956.
My article, "Paul Birch: Roger Corman's Intergalactic Vampire", can be read at:
"Pop" and "Sierra Nevada's" new ranch is attacked by "Natchakoa", the cattle run off, their cowhand "Nat", played by Chubby Johnson, is wounded, "Pop" is killed, and "Sierra Nevada" knocked out. "Tom McCord" appears, and steals a document from the dead "Pop" that grants the right to the land.
"Sierra" is nursed back to health by the young Blackfoot "Colorados", who attends "White man's school" at the displeasure of his father, the chief of the Blackfoot tribe.
"Colorados" is in love with "Starfire", played by Yvette Dugay, but she turns on him for "Natchakoa", because of the lies she hears about "Colorados".
Main plot again:
"Tom McCord" offers gunfighter "Farrell" a $2,000 bounty to kill "Sierra Nevada" and "Nate". "Farrell" next goes to "Sierra Nevada", but, surprise, reveals he is actually an undercover agent of the United States Cavalry investigating the cattle rustling and killing in the territory.
The three join forces, with "Colorados", and blow-up the wagon full of ammunition and guns "McCord" was selling to "Natchakoa" and his raiders. "Farrell" kills "McCord" and his men and. according to the screenplay, bring peace to the territory.
There are cowboys and Indians in Cattle Queen of Montana, good and bad whites, peaceful and renegade Indians, and colorful Technicolor scenery, but all these ingredients fail to make the Benedict Bogeaus production anything more than a listless and ordinary western.
THE VIOLENT MEN premiered in New York City on January 26, 1955
THE VIOLENT MEN "AND THEIR WOMEN!"
As a director Mate's credits would end at thirty-three, but included the classic 1949 film-noir, "D.O.A.", starring Edmond O'Brien, and producer George Pal's, Science Fiction classic, 1951's, "When Worlds Collide".
The screenplay was written by Harry Kleiner. Among his screenplays are Rita Hayworth's, 1953, "Salome", Tyrone Power's, 1953, "King of the Khyber Rifles", Rita Hayworth's, 1953 3-D, "Miss Sadie Thompson", and the Dorothy Dandridge, Harry Belafonte, and Pearl Bailey musical, 1954's, "Carmen Jones".
Glenn Ford portrayed "John Parrish". Ford had just been in the adventure film, 1955's, "The Americano", and followed this picture with director Richard Brooks', 1955, "Blackboard Jungle", co-starring Anne Francis.
Edward G. Robinson portrayed "Lew Wilkinson". Like Barbara Stanwyck, his films were trending toward "B's". Robinson had just co-starred with Peter Graves and Jean Parker, in the film-noir, 1954's, "Black Tuesday". "Edward G." would follow this picture with another film-noir, 1955's, "Tight Spot", co-starring with Ginger Rodgers and Brian Keith.
"John Parrish", a former Union Cavalry officer, moving West to recover from an old army wound that effected his lungs. In "Smoky Valley", he purchased some land, started a small ranch, and became engaged to "Caroline Vail", played by May Wynn.
Later, "Parrish" receives a low-ball offer on his property from "Lew Wilkinson", telling him he has twenty-four hours to accept the offer. "Caroline" wants "John" to accept the offer, nags him over it, and "John" somewhat meekly agrees. However, "Wilkinson" makes the mistake of wanting to push his offer on "Parrish" and one of "John's" ranch hands is murdered by "Wade Matlock".
"John's" other ranch hands start to ride into town for revenge, but he stops them. Instead, he heads for town, "Parrish" known for foolishly not carrying a gun, meekly enters the saloon, and goes over to the bar where "Wade" is standing at, but he's now wearing a gun.
What happens next, surprises everyone in the saloon. "Parrish" slaps "Matlock" in the face, as "Wade" starts to pull out his gun, the faster "John Parrish" grabs his gun hand, pulls out his own, shoots and kills "Wilkinson's" henchman, and exits the saloon before the rest of "Lew Wilkinson's" men can react.
The following day, "Parrish" rides out to Anchor ranch and confronts "Lew", his wife "Martha", and "Lew's" brother, "Cole", played by Brian Keith.
Don't force me to fight, because you won't like my way of fighting.
This riles everyone at Anchor ranch, except "Lew" and "Martha's" daughter "Judith", who is disgusted with her parents and knows that her mother is having an affair with "Cole".
Back at "Parrish's" ranch, his fiancée "Caroline" gives back her engagement ring, because "John" refused to sell and move them back East.
Led by "Cole", "Wilkinson's" men burn down "John Parrish's" ranch, but "John" and his men are just watching from a distance, as the action was expected by him. Satisfied with what he's done, "Cole" and his men ride into a military style ambush, losing eight men, and then taking to the hills to get away.
At Anchor, "Cole" and "Lew" get into an argument and "Cole" goes into town to his Mexican girlfriend, "Elena", played by Rita Milan. That night, "Parrish" and his men run off "Lew's" livestock, causing "Lew's" men to spend the night rounding them up.
With the ranch unguarded, "John" sets the ranch house on fire with "Lew" and "Martha" inside. "Lew" asks for his crutches, but "Martha" tosses them into the flames, leaving her husband to burn to death, but he survives.
"Martha" goes into town and finds "Cole", telling him that "Lew" is dead and the two can now run Anchor ranch. "Martha" playing on the naïve "Cole", who thinks he controls her, puts together a small army with the help of the Sheriff, who is being paid by Anchor. They now start a campaign to burn-out all the farmers in the valley to create an even bigger Anchor.
Back at the burnt Anchor, "Judith Wilkinson" finds her still alive father, and makes the decision to take him to the hills were "Parrish" and his men are hiding.
"Martha", "Cole", and their army ride into Anchor to be confronted by "Judith", "John", and "Lew", who have decided that "Martha" is the real villain of the piece. The Sheriff in shock at seeing "Lew" still alive, orders "Martha's" army to leave the property and return to their homes. "John" sees "Cole" and rides toward him for a final showdown. "Martha" smiles at this, believing that "Cole" will take down the meek rancher.
"Cole" and "Parrish" approach each other, at a point, "Cole" draws his pistol and shoots at "John". "John Parrish" fires back, "Cole" is hit in the stomach, and falls to the ground, dead!
"Martha" drops to her knees beside "Cole", as "Lew" and 'Judith" approach on horseback. In a panic, "Martha" gets up and runs toward the ranch, only to be killed by "Elena", out for revenge over the death of "Cole".
Later in town, "John" and his men are loading supplies into a wagon to rebuild his ranch. "Judith" comes up to him and tells "John" that her father would like him to run Anchor ranch. He replies that he has his own ranch to rebuild and starts to rides off. He stops, returns to her and smiling, says:
your father once told me he'd get my ranch one way or another."John Parrish" and "Judith Wilkinson" ride off together.
Three motion pictures later and Barbara Stanwyck was back in a "B" Western from the studio of Gene Autry and Roy Rogers, Republic Pictures.
THE MAVERICK QUEEN released on April 4 1956
The feature was directed by Joseph Kane, one of the better contract directors at Republic. Among his work are a majority of the Gene Autry entries going back to 1934, and the Roy Rodger's features going back to 1938. Kane was co-director on the Cliff-Hanger, 1936's, "The Undersea Kingdom", that introduced Roy "Crash" Corrigan, before he became one a "B" Western star and one of Republic's, "Three Mesquiteers".
Joseph Kane was the best choice for studio owner Herbert J. Yates to direct the first Republic Picture's motion picture in Naturama, their answer to CinemaScope. Add in Barbara Stanwyck and Yates was looking for a high profit on his investment.
The second screenplay writer was DeVallon Scott, he was another "B" writer, but his films were varied genres. Some of Scott's titles were director Howard Hawks' 1952, "The Big Sky", starring Kirk Douglas, 1952's, "Blackbeard the Pirate", starring Robert Newton, 1953's, "Slaves of Babylon", starring Richard Conte and Linda Christian, and 1954's, "The Saracen Blade", starring Ricardo Montalban.
Barbara Stanwyck portrayed "Kit Banion". Prior to this picture she was seen in 1956's, "There's Always Tomorrow", co-starring with Fred MacMurray and Joan Bennett. Stanwyck followed this picture with 1956's, "These Wilder Years", co-starring James Cagney and Walter Pidgeon.
The very thin plot:
"Sundance" has been "Kit Banion's" lover for some time, but she wants a "Better Man"! The jealous "Sundance" accuses her of planting a hired killer, the masked man, in "Lucy's" camp to murder him.
"Kit's" saloon is actually a front for the "Hole in the Wall Gang", another name seemingly interchangeable for "Cassidy's" gang in the screenplay. "Jeff" sits down at a poker game with the "Sundance Kid", beats him, resulting in "Kit" showing a little more interest in "Jeff". The jealous "Sundance" attempts to start a fight, but is beaten to the draw and "Kit" has found her "Better Man"! "Kit" offers "Jeff" a job as a faro dealer and he accepts.
"Kit" returns to town and Pinkerton Detective Agent "Leo Malone", played by Emile Meyer, accuses her of being the go- between with the "Wild Bunch" and wants her to leave town. The real "Jeff Younger", played by Jim Davis, with a newspaper picture to prove he is whom he claims to be arrives.
Accompanied by "Younger" and her employee "Jake", I could not find out who played him, "Kit" leaves town with the Sheriff following in the hopes she will lead him to "Hole in the Wall". During the night the three rest, "Kit" steals the newspaper that has "Younger's" picture and leaves the other two unawares. The posse catches up and forces "Jake" to lead them to the hideout.
At the hideout, "Sundance" learning of "Jeff's" deceitfulness, has him locked-up in the same room as "Lucy" and "Jamie". "Kit" arrives, sneaks into the locked room and avows her love for "Jeff".
Barbara Stanwyck's final two Western motion pictures are considered classics of the genre and she started by being united with Joel McCrea.
Like Warren's "Little Big Horn" and "Arrowhead", this motion picture was a character study and the director contributed to the screenplay.
The story was from a Jack Schaefer novel, two other movies based upon his novel's are 1953's "Shane", and 1956's "Tribute to a Bad Man".
There were three screenplay writers, David Victor, was a television writer and this was his only motion picture. Martin Berkeley started writing screenplays in 1941. Among his work in 1955 were the two Universal International entries, "The Revenge of the Creature" and "Tarantula", and he added 1957's ,"The Deadly Mantis". In 1958, Berkeley started writing Western television shows. The third writer, Herbert Little, Jr. was mainly a television Western writer starting in 1956 with "Gunsmoke".
Joel McCrea portrayed "Army Sergeant Clovis Hook". McCrea had just been seen in the 1957 Western, "The Oklahoman", and followed this Western with the Western, 1957's "Gunsight Ridge".
Barbara Stanwyck portrayed "Cora Sutliff". Barbara Stanwyck had been in the film-noir, 1956's, "Crime of Passion", co-starring Sterling Hayden and Raymond Burr. She followed this picture with the last Western I will be mentioning in this article.
Earl Holliman portrayed "Jeff Bennett". Holliman had just portrayed "Charlie Bassett" in director John Sturges' 1957, "The Gunfight at the O.K. Corral", starring Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas. He followed this feature co-starring with Glenn Ford and Gia Scala in the 1957 comedy, "Don't Go Near the Water".
the worst butcher in the territory.
Above, stagecoach driver "Mr. Trude", portrayed by character actor Royal Dano, speaks to "Jeff" before boarding his stage. At another stagecoach stop, "Jeff" leaves, but the stage now picks up a man named "Charlie Travers", played by Edward Andrews, "Senora Sandoval", played by Celia Lovsky, and her granddaughter "Consuela", played by Susan Kohner.
As "Nanchez" watches, at the stagecoach, "Sergeant Hook" holds a gun to the head of "Quito" and threatens to kill the boy, if "Nanchez" doesn't let them go. The Apache War Chief agrees, but threatens to match wits with "Hook" again.
After bidding goodbye to "Jeff", who has fallen in love with "Consuela", "Sergeant Hook" rents a buckboard and with "Cora" and "Quito" leave for "Fred's" home. There, "Fred" tells "Cora" and "Hook" that he has no problem taking her back, but refuses to take "Quito" into his home.
"Cora" supposes she has relatives back east and tells "Hook" he'll take "Quito" and go there. However, "Trooper Hook" has fallen in love with "Cora", and suggests that "Quito" and his mother stay with him. "Quito" winks his approval, and the three break into smiles.
Hollywood for decades used non-Native American actors to play Native American roles. The following link takes my reader to my article, "Native American's Hollywood Style", at:
Barbara Stanwyck's last Western motion picture was suggestive of Wyatt Earp and his brothers and has obvious lifts from their story. Although this screenplay is neither about the Clanton's, the McLaury's, or "The Gunfight at the O.K. Corral". For those who want to read about that actual event and the Hollywood motion pictures that followed, my article, "The Gunfight at the O.K. Corral' as Reinvented By Hollywood", will be found at:
My article, "Samuel 'Sam' Fuller: The Ever Present Cigar and Six Movies: 'I Shot Jesse James' 1949, 'The Baron of Arizona', 1950, 'The Steel Helmet' 1951, 'Pick Up on South Street' 1951, 'Shock Corridor' 1963, and 'The Big Red One' 1980", is available for your reading enjoyment at:
Barbara Stanwyck portrayed "Jessica Drummond". After this motion picture, Barbara Stanwyck moved to guest appearances on television shows, including three terrible made-for-television movies, through the last episode of the "The Colby's", on May 22, 1986. The exceptions were 1962's, "A Walk on the Wild Side", and two 1964 feature films, Elvis Presley's, "Roustabout", and director William Castle's, "The Night Walker", co-starring Robert Taylor.
"Jessica" now offers "Griff Bonnell" "Ned Logan's" job as Sheriff, which he refuses. "Griff" takes "Swain" to the jail and locks him in a cell.
Back in town, "Chico" has gotten himself drunk, which causes "Griff" to reflect that the life of a hired gun is soon to become an anachronism. While at the jail, "Swain" in his cell tells "Logan" he plans to blackmail "Jessica" unless she stages his release. "Logan" turns away, smiles as a bullet from outside kills "Swain" in his cell.
"Logan" tells "Jessica" that he arranged for "Swain's" murder and in a very cold tone of voice, she replies the other just hanged himself!
"Wes Bonnell" takes the bullet from "Swain's" back to "Louvenia", who surmises that only "Charlie Savage", played by Chuck Hayward, the best shot in the county could have fired it into the cell.
Meanwhile, "Logan" and "Savage" plan to ambush and kill "Griff" in "Undertaker's Alley". The stagecoach is in town and "Griff" and "Wes" watch "Chico" leave on it. Next, "Wes" reveals to his older brother that he plans to marry "Louvenia" and become the Marshall of Tombstone. This is followed by one of "Jessica's" men luring "Griff" into the alley, but before "Savage", from his upstairs hotel room, can shoot "Griff", he is shot by "Chico", who had jumped off the stage once it cleared town. "Wes" becomes the Marshal of Tombstone with his brothers as deputies.
Note: If the viewer still isn't seeing the Wyatt Earp connection with "Griff Bonnell", the following sequence spells it out.
Sometime later, "Wes" and "Louvenia" are married.
Sometime later, "Griff" visits "Chico", now the town Marshal to say his good-bye, because it is he that is now going home to California. "Chico" suggests "Griff" ask the now recovered "Jessica" to go with him, but "Griff" says she will never forgive him for killing her brother.
The film ends with "Griff" driving his wagon out of town, but "Jessica" is following him.
We lost Barbara Stanwyck on January 20, 1990, but not her work.
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