Saturday, March 18, 2023

Audie Murphy: The Medal of Honor, Westerns, Song Writing and PTSD

Audie Leon Murphy's war wasn't just against the German army in the Mediterranean and European Theaters, but with an unnamed mental disorder. That mental disorder was documented as far back as 1300 BCE with the soldiers of the Assyrian army, but wasn't given an official diagnosis and designation until 1980, nine-years after Audie Murphy's death.

Above, Audie Murphy wearing all the decorations he received during military service.

This is his story:

Part One: Childhood

Audie Murphy was born on June 20, 1925, in Kingston, Hunt County, northeastern Texas. He was the seventh of twelve children to sharecropper Emmett Berry Murphy, who drifted in and out of the family, and Josie Bell Killian Murphy. 

I could not locate the referenced second photo that went with the above picture. Below, Audie is the boy in front on the left, but I couldn't find any way to identify his brothers and sisters in the photograph.

According to his autobiography, "To Hell and Back", first published in 1949, the young Audie Murphy was a loner with mood swings and an explosive temper.

After his father deserted his family, either in 1935 or 1936, Audie dropped out of fifth grade and got a job picking cotton at a dollar a day (Equal to $21.84 at the time of this writing) to help feed the family of thirteen. He also purchased a rifle and began hunting small game.

In 1941, his mother passed away and the sixteen-years-old Audie Leon Murphy found himself the head of his family. 

In "To Hell and Back", he describes his feelings over his mother's loss:

She had the most beautiful hair I've ever seen. It reached almost to the floor. She rarely talked; and always seemed to be searching for something. What it was I don't know. We didn't discuss our feelings. But when she passed away, she took something of me with her. It seems I've been searching for it ever since.
On December 7, 1941, America was shaken out of its isolationism with the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. Like many young men, Audie wanted to defend his country and attempted to enlist in the Army, but was turned down as underweight and more importantly, underage for enlistment, He next went to both the Navy and Marine Corps, receiving the same result, he was too young! Speaking to his older sister, at the time, Mrs. Corinne Burns, she agreed to get a notarized statement attesting to the fact that his birth day was June 20, 1924, making her brother eligible to enlist in the United States Army. 

Part Two: The Road to the Medal of Honor

Audie Murphy took basic training at Camp Wolters, located four miles northeast of Mineral Springs, Texas. 

After completing basic training, Audie was sent to Fort Meade, in Maryland, for advanced infantry training.

Below is a photo of him on leave with two of his sisters and one of his brothers. I could not locate their names.

On February 20, 1943, Audie Murphy next found himself on a troop ship with a destination to the city of Casablanca, French Morocco. Upon disembarking, Murphy reported to Company B, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division, under the command of Major General Lucien Truscott, a fellow Texican born in Chatfield.

On May 7, 1943, Audie Murphy was promoted to Private First Class. After the May 13, 1943 surrender of Axis Forces in French Tunisia and the Tunisian leader Muhammad VII al-Munsif to the Free French. Murphy's 3rd Division was put in charge of the Axis prisoners in country.

The 3rd Division was now placed under the overall command of Lieutenant General George S. Patton's U.S. Seventh Army.

The 3rd division was returned to Algeria. There, Audie Murphy became a platoon messenger within his division located at the port city Arzew. The American troops were participating in rigorous training for the sea landing assault on Sicily, which started on July 9, 1943, as "Operation Huskey".

Audie Murphy landed with his division at the port city of Licata, Sicily, on July 10th, and became a runner, carrying messages between units. On July 15th, Murphy was promoted to Corporal and on a scouting party, Audie killed two Italian Army Officers. However, he became sidelined for a week with an illness and didn't rejoin Company B until it was in Palermo, Sicily, on July 20th. There, he was assigned to protect a machine gun emplacement from a hillside overlooking it, along the line of attack to take the port city of Messina. 

The Axis had started their evacuation of Messina on July 27th and when the 3rd Division had secured the port on August 17th, they were long gone. 

As a young boy growing up in Texas, like many others across the United States, Audie had imagined what it would be like being a soldier. However, a change had come over Corporal Audie Murphy based upon the realities of war. As he writes in "To Hell and Back":
I have seen war as it actually is, and I do not like it. But I will go on fighting.

Sicily was now secured and in early September, Allied Supreme Commander, Major General Dwight David Eisenhower, made the decision to invade Italy.

The 3rd Division was part of the Salerno landings at the seaport city of Battipaglia, overlooked by the medieval "Castellucio Battipaglia"

In his autobiography, "To Hell and Back", while patrolling along the Volturno River, Murphy, his best friend Lattie Tipton, and an unidentified third solider were on patrol. As they approached a bridge, that third soldier was killed by German machine fire, Tipton automatically tossed grenades in the direction of that machine gun fire, and Audie Murphy responded with his Thompson submachine gun, killing five German soldiers.

The Allies took Naples on October 1st, and next, the 3rd Division took part in the battle against the "Volturno Line", the southernmost of three defensive lines set up by German Supreme Commander, Generalfeldmarshall Albert Kesserling,

On December 13th, it was reported that the 3rd Division had lost 683 dead, 170 missing, and 2,412 wounded. Additionally, the 3rd Division that same December was notified of the planned January 1944 storming of the Anzio beachhead as the first phase to liberate Rome.

As the practicing of storming the beachhead was taking place near Salerno, Audie Murphy was made section leader and promoted to Sergeant on January 4, 1944, nine-days later, on January 13th, he was promoted once again to Staff Sergeant. When the actual landing at Anzio took place, on January 21st, Staff Sergeant Audie Murphy was in the hospital with malaria. However, he returned to his unit to take part in the unsuccessful "First Battle of Cisterna", January 30th through February 2, 1944. Which was the most intense and physical battle Audie Murphy had taken part in.

Lieutenant Colonel Michael Paulick, commander of the 1st Battalion of the 15th Infantry, temporary took charge of Company B after Cisterna, because their company commander's wound was too serious for him to lead.

Lieutenant Colonel Paulick later stated that the three-day battle decimated Company B, of approximately 250-men, and only left 30 soldiers alive. In "To Hell and Back", Audie Murphy wrote:
If the suffering of men could do the job, the German lines would be split wide open. Replacements cannot begin to keep pace with the slaughter. Some of the companies have been reduced to twenty men. Not a yard of ground has been gained by the murderous three days of assault. A doomlike quality hangs over the beachhead.

The 3rd Division was now under command of Major General John "Iron Mike" O'Daniel.

The German army stopped the allied advance and forced the 3rd Division and others back into Anzio for several months. Audie Murphy was one of several soldiers who took shelter in an abandoned farm house. On March 2, 1944, allied shelling disabled a German tank near the farm house. The tank crew was killed as they attempted to escape, but that still left a repairable tank for the Germans. Audie left his men in the farm house and as they watched, on his stomach crawled to the tank, and using rifle grenades, permanently put the tank out of commission. For his action he received a Bronze Star with "V" device, which distinguished the Bronze Star from others indicating it was for heroism, or valor under combat.

The 3rd Division was taken off the front lines and from April 1 through the 11th, found themselves on the Italian coastal island of Torre Astura, being put through intensive combat training. Murphy was up for another promotion to Technical Sergeant; he lost it for refusing to put his men through the required close order drilling that he felt was unnecessary and added stress on them. 

He might have lost the promotion, but along with 60 officers and infantry men of Company B, Audie Murphy received the Combat Infantry Badge and he additionally received an Oak Leaf Cluster for his Bronze Star.

The 3rd Division led the "Second Battle of Cisterna" from  May 22nd through May 25th, and this time it was successful. Combat continued moving inland and on June 4, 1944, Rome was liberated.

The Seventh Army now under the command of Lieutenant General Alexander Patch and was the initial amphibious landing force for the invasion of southern France on August 15, 1944.

The 3rd Division was still under the command Major General O'Daniel and at 0800, August 15th, they landed on "Yellow Beach" in the first assault, and started moving through vineyards near the hillside town of Ramatuelle.

The 3rd Platoon was moving toward an incline and one of the light machine gun squads became separated from the main body. German machine gun fire opened on the squad, killing one man, wounding another, and Murphy took off running toward the sounds, located the squad and led the remaining men back to the unit. Audie Murphy had returned machine gun fire at the Germans, killing two and wounding one. Taking up new positions, Murphy was joined by Lattie Tipton, two Germans exited a house approximately 100-yards from the two and appeared to be surrendering waiving a white flag. Tipton believed the surrender to be rail, got up, and signaled the two to come to him. He was immediately killed from machine gun fire coming from the house.

Audie Murphy, alone, advanced upon the house, as the German machine gunners still fired at him. When it was over, Murphy was alive, he had killed six, wounded two, and had taken prisoners. The action took approximately one-hour and he received the Distinguished Service Cross. That's how everyone described it, but here from "To Hell and Back" is how he described the event:

I remember the experience as I do a nightmare. A demon seems to have entered my body. My brain is coldly alert and logical. I do not think of the danger to myself. My whole being is concentrated on killing.

August 27th through the 29th, saw a major action around and in the town of Montelimar. The 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division, were joined by the 36th Infantry Division, and battled the Germans. The 3rd and 36th took a total of 500 German Army prisoners of war. For this hard-fought action, they received a Presidential Unit Citation.

The 3rd Division was moved to northeastern France, on September 15, 1944, around the town of Genevreuille, Audie Murphy was nearly killed from an exploding mortar round that killed two others and wounded three more. His injury was a wound to one of his heels and he received the Purple Heart.

It should be noted that of the original members of the 3rd Division Company B, only Audie Murphy and two others remained on active duty. The majority had been killed and some of the other living members were off the lines for wounds that either had them long term hospitalized or sent home.

Next, Major General O'Daniel moved the 15th Infantry, 3rd Division, to the Moselle River, and---

Cleurie River valleys in late September as part of the move against-----

the heavily fortified L'Omet Quarry. Below are two photos from the First World War, when the Germans had made the same fortifications.

On October 2, 1944, Audie Murphy advanced alone to the location of a machine gun manned by a unit of German soldiers. Within 15-yards of the machine gun nest, he rose to his feet and:

The Germans spot me instantly, the gunner spins the tip of his weapon toward me. But the barrel catches in a limb, and the burst whizzes to my right.

Murphy lobbed two hand grenades at the nest, killing four and wounding three, and was awarded the Silver Star. On October 5th, the Germans started an evacuation of the quarry and Audie, with a hand-held radio, moved within 50-yards of the enemy and started sending location information for firing upon the Germans. While he was receiving direct fire on his own location. When Audie Murphy's men finally took the hill that the L'Omet Quarry was located upon, 15 German soldiers had been killed and 35 wounded. Murphy earned an Oak Leaf Cluster for his Silver Star.

Audie Murphy was awarded a battle field commission to Second Lieutenant on October 14th, which elevated him to platoon leader. While in route to the city of Brouvelieures in an operation poetically called Operation Dog Face, on October 26th, the 3rd Platoon, Company B, was attacked by German snipers. Murphy was able to capture two of the snipers, but a third shot him in the hip, but was in turn killed by Audie.

Audie Murphy and other wounded soldiers waited for hours for their turn with the single medic. After a three-day delay, the wounded were finally transferred to the 3rd General Hospital at the town of Aix-en-Provence. As he described the wait for transfer:

Because of the rain and the mud, we cannot be evacuated for three days. We lie on cots, six to a pyramidal tent, while the fever spreads through our flesh. Delirious men moan and curse.

Once Audie Murphy arrived at the hospital, there was another wait for treatment and he developed gangrene in his wound. Multiple surgeries followed to remove the dead tissue and he stayed hospitalized until December 28, 1944, and received the first Oak Leaf Cluster on his Purple Heart.

The "Colmar Pocket" was 850-square-miles being held by the Germans since the start of November 1944. On December 15th, Major General O'Daniel moved the 3rd Division into the area of the pocket. Audie Murphy rejoined his platoon on January 14, 1945 and described the "Colmar Pocket" as:

a huge and dangerous bridgehead thrusting west of the Rhine like an iron fist. Fed with men and materiel from across the river, it is a constant threat to our right flank; and potentially it is a perfect springboard from which the enemy could start a powerful counterattack

On the same day as Murphy returned to his platoon, General Jacob Devers, ordered the 3rd Division reinforced by the 28th Infantry Division. 



The reinforced 3rd Division engaged the Germans in sixteen days of battle to secure the bridgeheads west of the Rhine River at the Colmar Canal.

On January 24th, the 3rd Division met a heavy German counter attack in the town of Holtzwihr. Two officers of the division were killed by mortar shells and Audie Murphy was wounded in both legs and received his second Oak Leaf Cluster for his Purple Heart. However, he remained in action in Holtzwihr. 

When the two divisions combined, the 3rd Division consisted of 235-men, but due to disease. injuries and casualties, on January 26th, Audie Murphy became the company commander of the remaining 18-men.

The new company commander described the approaching Germans:

I see the Germans lining up for an attack. Six tanks rumble to the outskirts of Holtzwihr, split into groups of threes, and fan out toward either side of the clearing. Then wave after wave of white dots, barely discernible against the background of snow, start across the field. They are enemy infantrymen.
The Germans attack started with a direct hit on an American "M 10 Tank Destroyer" setting it on fire, but the tank crew was able to escape.

Murphy ordered his men to retreat into the woods, but he stayed in position with his M-1 Carbine, issuing orders by telephone. As had happened before, the Germans were firing on Audie Murphy's position. He made his way to the tank destroyer, that was still burning, and using its .50 caliber machine gun, returned fire killing a German squad advancing toward him.

According to PFC Anthony V. Abramski's statement, on February 27, 1945, about what he saw Audie Murphy doing:
It was like standing on top of a time bomb ... he was standing on the TD chassis, exposed to enemy fire from his ankles to his head and silhouetted against the trees and the snow behind him.
According to the statement of Sergeant Elmer C. Brawley, March 4, 1945:
... during his indomitable one-man struggle, Lieutenant Murphy broke the entire attack of the Germans and held hard-won ground that it would have been disastrous to lose.

On that day, Audie Murphy killed, or wounded, 50-German soldiers, walked back to his men, and finally allowed medical treatment for his leg wounds received two-days earlier. There is a street named for Audie in the town of Holtzwihr today.

Brigadier General Ralph B. Lovett and Lieutenant Colonel Hallet D Edison recommended Audie Murphy for the Army's version of the Congressional Medal of Honor, all three services had their own versions. 

The official press release stating that Audie Murphy had been awarded the Medal of Honor was on May 24, 1945.

Trivia: the first time the Medal of Honor was awarded were to the Army survivors of the Civil War mission known from one of the survivors and awardees, William Pittenger's non-fiction work, "The Great Locomotive Chase; A History of Andrew's Raid into Georgia in 1862". My article looking at the actual raid is part of "The Andrews Civil War Raid: 'The Great Locomotive Chase' in Motion Pictures", found at:

Additionally, as many other soldiers might have been given depending on their service areas, Audie Murphy was awarded the American Campaign Medal, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with nine campaign stars and one arrowhead device for amphibious landings in Sicily and Southern France, the World War II Victory Medal, and the Army Occupation Medal with Germany Clasp for occupational services in Germany.

On April 16, 1945, France awarded Murphy the French Croix de guerre with silver star. He wouldn't receive it until September 15th in Dallas, Texas, presented to him by Brigadier General Albert Collier. There would be additional awards from France, Belgium, and the United States. 

When "Life Magazine" put Audie Murphy on their July 16, 1945 cover proclaiming him the "Most Decorated Soldier", Murphy became a national hero.

Audie Murphy would be discharged with the rank of First Lieutenant at a 50-percent disability classification on September 21, 1945 and transferred to the Officers Reserve Corps. Audie became a member of the Texas National Guard and everything seemed to be riding high for Murphy, but there was a problem not yet diagnosed. I will speak to it within the next part.

Part Three: Motion Pictures and Demons

Back with the release of the "Life Magazine" issue, actor James Cagney approached Audie Murphy about coming to Hollywood after his discharge. With his brother William Cagney, the brothers signed Murphy to a personal contract and gave him acting, voice, and dance lessons. According to biographer Don Graham's, 1989, biography of Audie taking its title from a 1959 motion picture, "No Name on the Bullet". Nothing came from the contract with the Cagney's, because of some unknown personal disagreement.

On June 17, 1947, during a post-service medical examination, the Veterans Administration doctors discovered that Audie Murphy was having nightmare, headaches, and uncontrolled vomiting. He was prescribed sleeping bills to help prevent the nightmares. The diagnosis was "Combat Stress".

Murphy started acting lessons with Estelle Harman the former UCLA acting instructor that was hired by Universal Pictures to train their stable of new actors. These included Audie Murphy, Rock Hudson, Tony Curtis, and Bill Bixby.

Since coming to Hollywood for the Cagney's, Murphy was living, if you could call it that, at Terry Hunts Athletic Club. It was there that he met Hollywood writer David "Spec" McClure, the two friends moved into an apartment, and started work on "To Hell and Back". Most of the writing was written by the professional McClure in a "as told to" style, but Audie did write some of the prose. 

In 1948, McClure used his Hollywood connections to get Audie a bit part in a comedy romance entitled:

TEXAS, BROOKLYN & HEAVEN released July 16, 1948

The motion picture was directed by pre-horror-movie gimmick king, William Castle, and starred Guy Madison and Diana Lynn. Actually, Audie Murphy's "Copy Boy", was the last fully credited acting role at #14.

For those of my readers interested in William Castle, my article, "A Tale of WILLIAM CASTLE the Motion Picture 'GIMMICK KING", will frighten you at:

Audie Murphy had been dating actress Wanda Hendrix since 1946, and her agent got him his second bit part. The motion picture was 1948's, "Beyond Glory", starring Alan Ladd and Donna Reed, with 11th billed Audie as "Cadet Thomas". 

The screenplay may have affected Audie Murphy in two ways. The first is Ladd portrays a soldier that believed he caused his commanding officer's death during the war in Tunisia. The second way is that the story takes place at West Point and at one time Murphy was considered for admission to that academy. There are many stories as to why he didn't go and I will mention a couple when I speak to the movie version of Audie Murphy's autobiography.

In the above still Audie Murphy is watching Alan Ladd making a pass at Donna Reed.

February 1949 saw Audie Murphy and Wanda Hendrix married on the 8th, to be followed by his first starring motion picture role.

BAD BOY released on February 22, 1949

Audie Murphy was given the title role of "Danny Lester", because the men financing the feature film wanted him in it and they also came from Texas.

The story takes place in Texas and revolves around the real "Variety Clubs Boys Ranch", actually called the "Bedford Boys Ranch", located in Bedford, Texas, and opened in 1949. The ranch was founded by members of the Dallas Variety Club and housed boys that were the wards of the courts. The ranch closed in 1957.

In the motion picture, Lloyd Nolan and Jane Wyatt portray "Marshall" and "Maude Brown", who operate the ranch. 

In the screenplay, seventeen-years-old "Danny", gets in trouble with the law and "Marshall Brown" talks a friendly judge into turning the boy over to him and his boy's ranch. The story seems a variation of the Spencer Tracy and Mickey Rooney's, 1938, "Boy's Town". The actual ranch was patterned after the Nebraska's boys ranch set up by Father Flanagan. 

Twenty-three-years-old Audie Murphy was able to play the young "Danny", because of his youthful looks.

Above, Audie Murphy with Jane Wyatt and Lloyd Nolan.

While on February 28, 1949, Audie Murphy's wartime autobiography, "To Hell and Back" was published. 

"Bad Boy" was followed by Audie Murphy's first Wester! This was his first motion picture under his contract with Universal Pictures. Audie had signed a seven-year contract for $2,500 a week (Equal as of this writing to $31,034 a week).

THE KID FROM TEXAS released on March 1, 1950

Let me set the title straight, its pure fiction, because "Billy the Kid" was born on Manhattan Island, New York. Another point, his name wasn't really "William H. Boney", he was born Henry McCarty. Such is the stuff of legends!

This piece of Hollywood Fiction is part of my article, "BILLY THE KID: Hollywood Style", found at:

Actually, Audie Murphy makes a very good "Billy the Kid", under the direction of Kurt Neumann, who had directed him in "Bad Boy". Also in 1950, Neumann directed the cult Science Fiction classic, "Rocketship X-M", and in 1958, he directed the cult Science Fiction/Horror feature, the original "The Fly".

There are only three characters in the screenplay who are real, "Billy the Kid", New Mexico Governor Lew Wallace portrayed by Robert H. Barrat, and Pat Garret portrayed by Frank Wilcox.

Murphy's co-star as the fictional "Irene Kain", was portrayed by Gale Storm. Storm had been acting since 1940, but to my generation she was known for two-television programs, "My Little Margie", 1952 through 1955, and "The Gale Storm Show: Oh! Susanna", 1956 through 1960.

Albert Dekker portrayed the fictional "Alexander Kain", "Irene's father", based upon the childless, Alexander McSween, Dekker is seen on far right of the following still.

Like most films about "Billy the Kid", the film takes a fictional look at the 1878, New Mexico, Lincoln County War. 

Next, Audie found himself in the only motion picture he filmed with his wife, Wanda Hendrix.
 However, unrevealed to the public were their personal problems going back to that diagnosis of "Combat Stress". 

Prior to the release of the motion picture, on June 1, 1950, Murphy and Hendrix had divorced on April 14th. According to Wanda, Audie would suddenly have flashbacks to the Second World War and nightmares of the actions of Company B, calling out names. During their short marriage, he slept with a loaded pistol under his pillow.

Wanda stated that when he saw newsreel footage of German War Orphans, Audie started crying, and asking if he had caused the death of those orphan's parents?

At another time, Audie had held a loaded pistol on Wanda, seeming confused as to where he was and who she was, Wanda asked him to get psychiatric help, but he had refused her request.

There is no documentation, if the Army, or Veteran's Administration treated Audie Murphy beyond giving him sleeping pills. The problem was, at the time, that the military doctors were still thinking in First World War terms and using that war's terminology of "Combat Stress", "Shell Shock", "Combat Fatigue", "Battle Fatigue", and "Battle Neurosis". In short, they looked upon most mental problems with returning, or serving military personal as "Short Term".

On November 21, 1960, in an article by Bob Thomas, AP Movie-TV Writer, Audie Murphy is quoted as saying this about the VA:
After the war, they took Army dogs and rehabilitated them for civilian life. But they turned soldiers into civilians immediately, and let 'em sink or swim

The motion picture that starred Wanda Hendrix and Audie Murphy was:

SIERRA released on June 1, 1950

Audie Murphy portrayed "Ring Hassard", Wanda Hendrix portrayed "Riley Martin", Burl Ives portrayed "Lonesome", and Dean Jagger portrayed "Jeff Hassard".

The screenplay was about a father, "Jeff Hassard", living in the Sierra Mountain range breaking wild horses with his son "Ring". The two have an isolated existence and live off the money, their one outside contact, "Lonesome" gets selling the horses. Into their isolation comes "Riley Martin" and she is followed by "Jeff" injuring himself and needing a doctor. Bringing out the problem that he is wanted for a murder he didn't commit and the reason for the father and son's isolation from the nearby town.

Twenty-Four-Days after the release of "Sierra", on June 25, 1950, what was a "United Nations Police Action" commenced. To two of my uncles and a cousin, this was the "Korean War"! 

Hollywood wasn't the only place to create motion pictures about that war, during and after it. All the main countries involved including North Korea made them. My article, "THE KOREAN WAR: As Recreated By the Participants Upon the Movie Screen", can be read at:

The Texas National Guard was being called up for service in the "Police Action/War" and needed qualified officers. At the time Audie Murphy was debating within himself, if being a motion picture actor was the right direction for him. Major General H. Ainsworth and Brigadier General Carl L. Pinney were the commander and deputy commander of the Texas guard and friends of Murphy.

On July 14, 1950, Major General Ainsworth swore Audie Murphy into the Texas National Guard, 36th Infantry Division, with the rank of Captain. 

Starting one-month after his swearing in to the Texas National Guard, in August 1950, and lasting into October 1950, Audie Murphy was still keeping his motion picture commitments by filming director John Huston's version of author Stephen Crane's novel, "The Red Badge of Courage". Which wouldn't be released until September 26, 1951.

Audie Murphy continued motion picture filming while he was being assigned to a wartime position in the now activated Texas National Guard.

On November 15, 1950, the motion picture audiences saw Audie Murphy portraying "Jessie James" in "Kansas Raiders", co-starring Brian Donlevy portraying "Colonel William Clarke Quantrill". 


Above, the Universal Pictures Contract Players:

On the right is Audie Murphy portraying "Jesse James", to his left is Richard Long portraying "Frank James", to his immediate left is James Best portraying "Cole Younger", behind Best to Long's left is Tony Curtis portraying "Kit Dalton", far left is Dewey Martin portraying "James Younger".

The motion picture was a fictional version of "Quantrill's Raiders" and the outlaws named above. The motion picture is a part of my article, "The American Civil War Through the Eyes of Hollywood", read at:

Within the Texas National Guard, Audie Murphy was assigned to the headquarters Intelligence Office, 1st Battalion, 141st Infantry as S-2 (Intelligence), and he attended the guard's two-week summer training at Fort Hood as a range officer.

On December 19, 1950, Audie Murphy was transferred to division headquarters as an aide to Major General Ainsworth. During the summer training camp at Fort Polk, Louisiana, Murphy was in charge of the training of 500 inexperienced troops in bayonet, marksmanship and close order drill.

Four days after his divorce to Wanda Hendrix became final, Audie Murphy married former airline stewardess Pamela Opal Lee Archer.


Audie and Pamela would have two-sons, Terry Michael and James Shannon.

Back on October 1, 1951, Audie Murphy had requested a transfer to inactive status due to his film commitments to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Which is interesting, because he was under contract to Universal Pictures and not MGM. However, his letter of request specially states MGM, but his motion pictures were made by Universal.

On January 13, 1952, Universal Pictures released "The Cimarron Kid" and Audie Murphy was a third real-life outlaw, "William 'Bill' Doolin".

In the Texas National Guard, on January 21, 1952, Audie Murphy was relieved of his assignment as the aide to Major General Ainsworth. On February 25, 1952, for the forgotten anthology series, "The Lux Video Theatre", sponsored by "Lux Soap", Audie Murphy was reduced to being an on-screen "Extra", in his first television appearance in "The Bargain".

THE DUEL AT SILVER CREEK released on August 1, 1952

Originally to be called either "Claim Jumpers", or "Hair Trigger Kid", "The Duel at Silver Creek" is one of Audie Murphy's better Westerns and he actually is the good-guy for a change.

The motion picture was directed by Don Siegel, this was only his fourth motion picture and prior to his first, Siegal had only directed two short subjects. This was also Siegel's first Western and his first of two motion pictures with Audie Murphy.

The picture has a very interesting cast:

Audie Murphy portrayed "Luke Cromwell, the Silver Kid". 

Faith Domergue portrayed "Opal Lacy". She was three-years-away from obtaining cult Science Fiction immortality from only one year of her acting career. My article, "FAITH DOMERGUE: 1955 A.D.", can be read at:

Stephen McNally portrayed "Marshall Lightening Tyrone". McNally had just co-starred with Tyrone Power and Patricia Neal in the Spy Film-Noir, 1952's, "Diplomatic Courier", and followed this picture with the overlooked Horror Mystery, 1952's, "The Black Castle", co-starring with Richard Greene and Boris Karloff.

Above, Stephen McNally and Faith Domergue.

Susan Cabot portrayed "Jane 'Dusty' Fargo". Cabot would co-star with Audie Murphy in two other Westerns, 1953's, "Gunsmoke", and 1954's, "Ride Clear of Diablo". However, it is her teaming with director Roger Corman that the actress is remembered for with titles such as 1957's, "The Saga of the Viking Women and Their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent", 1958's, "War of the Satellites", 1958's, "Machine Gun Kelly" co-starring an unknown Charles Bronson, and as 1959's, "The Wasp Woman".

Gerald Mohr portrayed "Rod Lacy". Radio actor turned movie actor Mohr, is best remembered for two cult Science Fictions films, the Second Red Scare, 1952, "Invasion U.S.A.", and 1959's, "The Angry Red Planet". My article, "GERALD MOHR: Radio, "B" Movie and Television Character Actor", will be found at:

Lee Marvin portrayed "Tinhorn Burgess". Unknown Lee Marvin was mostly appearing in small, uncredited roles on television. He had just been seen in the uncredited role of a "Military Policeman at Trieste", in 1952's, "Diplomatic Courier". He would follow this Western with seventh-billing in another one, but starring Randolph Scott and Donna Reed, 1952's, "Hangman's Knot".

The story is typical "B" Westerns, but it is the actors and the director that make this entry rise far above the others. "Luke Cromwell's" father, his mother had already died in the past, is killed by claim jumpers and he vows to go after them. This will lead him to the town of "Silver Creek". After a couple of run-ins with "Marshall Tyrone", because "Luke" is "The Silver Kid", the two team-up. 

The subplot has "Luke" being pursued and falling in love with tomboy "Dusty Fargo". While "Marshall Tyrone" falls for "Opal Lacy". What neither "Cromwell", or "Tyrone" know, is that "Opal" is actually the leader of the claim jumpers and her brother "Rod" does the killing.


I will not be mentioning all of Audie Murphy's films from this point forward, but will mention some of the most notable. Five motion pictures would be released before the next feature I will mention.

Audie Murphy had given the Texas National Guard authorization to use his likeness, or himself. During a promotional tour in 1952, late at night in his motel room, Murphy suffered nightmares about the war and started beating on all the walls of his room waking his neighbors. For the Guard he was put in charge of classroom training in field operations during that year's summer recruit training program.

The United Nations Police Action aka The Korean War ended on July 27, 1953. The "Korean Armistice Agreement" was signed without the 36th Infantry Division ever leaving the United States.

Audie Murphy missed the 1954 Texas National Guard summer training, because he was on location filming "To Hell and Back". Below, he is seen on set showing his son, Terry, a real German Helmet used in the movie.

Back on November 30, 1939, Universal Pictures released "Destry Rides Again", starring James Stewart and Marlene Dietrich. Now, 15-years-later, they remade it as:

DESTRY released on December 1, 1954

Like "The Duel at Silver Creek", this picture had a very good cast and the perfect director.

The motion picture was directed by George Marshall. Who had directed the 1939, "Destry Rides Again". Marshall had been an actor and was a screenplay writer. He would later direct among other movies, Jeff Chandler and Dorothy Malone in the 1956 Western, "Pillars of the Sky", Audie Murphy and Kathryn Grant in the 1957 Western, "The Guns of Fort Petticoat", and Glenn Ford, Shirley MacLain, and Leslie Nielsen in the 1958 Western, "The Sheepman". 

The screenplay was almost word for word, scene for scene, the original 1939 movie.

Audie Murphy portrayed "Thomas Jefferson 'Tom' Destry, Jr.". George Marshall gave Audie Murphy a chance to just be Audie Murphy, just like he let James Stewart be James Stewart, playing the easy going, doesn't wear guns, "Deputy Sheriff Destry". The only character in the 1954 screenplay keeping their original name and staying completely the same as in the 1939 original. 

Murphy had just been seen co-starring with Walter Brennan, Lisa Gaye, and Lyle Bettger in the 1954 Western, "Drums Across the River". Audie Murphy would follow this feature with the next picture I will be speaking about.

Mari Blanchard portrayed "Brandy". In the 1939 movie, Marlene Dietrich was named "Frenchy". Blanchard had portrayed "Queen Allura" in 1953's, "Abbott and Costello Go to Mars", She had just co-starred with Joel McCrea in the 1954 Western, "Black Horse Canyon" and followed this feature with 1955's, "Son of Sinbad". 


Lyle Bettger portrayed "Phil Decker". In the 1939 film, Brian Donlevy's character was named "Kent".  As I mentioned villain Bettger was in 1954's, "Drums Across the River", as the villain, and he followed this feature, as the villain, in John Wayne's, 1955, "The Sea Chase".

Thomas Mitchell portrayed "Sheriff Reginald 'Rags' Barnaby". In the 1939 film, Charles Winninger's character was named "Washington 'Wash' Dimsdale". Mitchell had just co-starred in the Charlton Heston and Robert Young's, 1954, "Secret of the Inca's". According to both Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, Heston's role was the model for the character of "Indiana Jones". My article, "CHARLTON HESTON: The Original 'INDIANA JONES", will be found at:

Lori Nelson portrayed "Martha Phillips". In the 1939 feature, Irene Hervey's character was named, "Janice Tydall". Nelson had just co-starred with Audie Murphy in the 1953 Western, "Tumbleweed". She would follow this feature with director John Sturges', Treasure Hunting Adventure, 1955's, "Underwater", starring Jane Russell, Gilbert Roland, and Richard Egan. However, Lori Nelson is best remembered for two cult 1955 Science Fiction features. They are the second film in "The Creature from the Black Lagoon" trilogy, "Revenge of the Creature" and director Roger Corman's, "The Day the World Ended".

The sheriff of a small western town dies of a heart attack and the crooked mayor and the towns leading crook, "Decker", appoint town drunk "Reginald 'Rags' Barnaby" the new sheriff. What they don't count on, or apparently didn't know, was that "Rags" was once the deputy sheriff to the late and renowned sheriff, "Thomas Jefferson Destry". "Rags" immediately wires for "Tom's" son to come and take the deputy sheriff job. When the stage arrives and the entire town awaits to see "Destry". He steps off of the stage holding an open lady's umbrella and a women's suitcase embarrassing "Rags" and getting some laughs from "Decker" and the "Mayor", because their new sheriff painted a picture of "Destry" as a sure shot gunman. "Destry", next, helps the owner of the items off the stage and gives them back to her.

What follows is a series of episodes that reveal that "Destry" is not what he seems. For example he doesn't wear guns, and the town believes he doesn't know how to use one. Especially as "Destry" speaks about using "friendly persuasion" instead of violence to get things done. This leads "Decker" to believe it is going to be easy to bribe the new deputy sheriff into working for him. However, this is one of several misunderstanding about "Destry", such as what everyone's first impression of him was, when he stepped off the stage.

At "Decker's" saloon, he has his girlfriend, "Brandy", tease the innocent seeming "Destry" in front of "Rags" and everyone there. Next, on cue, one of "Decker's" henchmen teases "Destry" about being in a western town, not wearing guns or knowing how to use one, and implies he might be a coward. "Destry" asks the henchmen to hand him his pistol, the henchman turns to his boss, and smiling, "Decker" nods his approval. The pistol is handed over, "Destry" checks its balance, and then shooting quickly at a wagon wheel with six knobs at the end of the spokes, very neatly shoots all of them off, and calmly hands the pistol back to its owner,

Later, "Destry" will stop and arrest gunfighter, "Jack Larson", portrayed by Alan Hale, Jr., from attempting to kill "Decker". Leading to the two joining forces to stop the other who had murdered the original sheriff, because he had learned that "Decker" wanted to control the right-a-way for cattle into the town and was stealing land. "Destry" and "Larson" arrest "Decker's" gang, but a jailbreak takes place and "Rags" is killed. All climaxing in a showdown between "Destry" and "Decker.

While all of the above it taking place, "Martha Phillips" has fallen for "Destry" and even fights "Brandy" in the saloon in a classic remake of the classic catfight between "Frenchy" and "Janice" in the 1939, "Destry Rides Again".    


On February 14, 1955, Audie Murphy received the First Degree in Freemasonry, at the North Hollywood, California, Lodge #542. He would be raised to the Third Degree, "Master Mason", on June 27, 1955.

On June 22, 1955, Audie Murphy requested a temporary waiver of his Army disability payment from the Veterans Administration, making him able to be placed back on Active Duty with the Texas National Guard. On July 6, 1955, at his request, the Guard placed Murphy on active duty. It was Audie Murphy's hope that this move would result in a promotion to Major. However, the other part of Murphy's equation was to get the seven-years of service requirement of being a captain waived. After several recommendations by senior officers, on February 14, 1956, he was now Army Major Audie Murphy. On July 1, 1957, Murphy transferred back to inactive status.

TO HELL AND BACK premiered in San Antonio, Texas, on August 17, 1955

I could find nothing about Gil Doud, except that he wrote 12-screenplays between 1951 and 1960. Also, that he was born on March 1, 1914, in Winona, Minnesota, and died on December 17, 1957, in Los Angeles, California. 

Jesse Hibbs played football for the University of Southern California (USC) in 1928. On his team were this motion pictures producer, Aaron Rosenberg, and two other names eventually related to the motion picture industry, but not this movie. They were quarterback Marion Morrison, before 1930, when director Raul Walsh changed his name to John Wayne, and defensive lineman, Ward Bond. The story is part of my article, "JOHN WAYNE, WILLIAM FOX: Grandeur and 'The Big Trail", which interested readers will find at:

Hibbs had just directed the Lex Barker Western, 1954's, "The Yellow Mountain", and would follow this feature film with 1955's, "The Spoilers", co-starring Anne Baxter, Jeff Chandler, and Rory Calhoun. Jesse Hibbs had directed Audie Murphy in the 1954 Western, "Ride Clear of Diablo", co-starring with Dan Duryea and Susan Cabot, and would direct him another four-times with the 1956, boxing movie, "World in My Corner", co-starring Barbara Rush and Jeff Morrow, 1956's, true story of Indian Agent, John Clum, "Walk the Proud Land", co-starring with Anne Bancroft, 1957's, comedy, "Joe Butterfly", co-starring with Keenan Wynn, and the 1958 western, "Ride a Crooked Trail", co-starring with Gia Scala and Walter Matthau.

Audie Murphy portrayed "Audie Murphy", but he did not want to play Audie Murphy. Murphy suggested an actor he had appeared with before, Tony Curtis. Besides, he argued he was 30-years old and needed to play himself from 17-years-old to 20. Rosenberg and Hibbs were finally able to convince Audie Murphy to play Audie Murphy, and part of their argument was that Tony Curtis was 17-days-older than Murphy.

Marshall Thompson portrayed "Private/Corporal Johnson". Thompson was primarily a television actor at the time. Although in 1955 he did appear in the Fantasy/Horror movie "Cult of the Cobra", see my article on Faith Domergue, and the Jennifer Jones, "Good Morning Miss Dove". Also, in 1955, Marshall Thompson would appear in three-episodes of televisions "Science Fiction Theater".

Charles Drake portrayed "Private Brandon", loosely based upon Lattie Tipton. Drake had just been seen in the Joan Crawford and Jeff Chandler, 1955, "Female on the Beach". He followed this picture with the Jane Wyman and Rock Hudson, 1955, "All That Heaven Allows". Back in 1953, Charles Drake portrayed "Sheriff Matt Warren" in the 3-D classic Science Fiction, "It Came from Outer Space", starring Richard Carlson and Barbara Rush.

Jack Kelly portrayed "Private/Staff Sergeant Kerrigan". Pre-"Bart Maverick" Kelly, was also in 1955's, "Cult of the Cobra", and the following year would be in the 1956 Science Fiction classic, "Forbidden Planet". Otherwise, he was mainly appearing on different television shows. For those who might be interested, my article, "Bret and Bart "MAVERICK" and Family", can be read at: 

Gregg Palmer portrayed "Lieutenant Manning". At the time, Palmer had appeared five-times on different 1955 television programs and followed this feature with five more. His next feature film was the third and final entry of "The Creature from the Black Lagoon" trilogy, 1956's, "The Creature Walks Among Us". He also co-starred with scream queen Allison Hayes in 1957's, "Zombies of Mora Tau".

This is the compressed into one-hour-and-forty-six-minutes version of Audie Murphy's life from when his father deserted the family until his Medal of Honor ceremony. As the above cast indicates, there are several name changes and composite characters. In too many ways this action filled movie is a very routine Hollywood war movie.

On July 20, 1955, the trade paper, "Variety", wrote that the soldiers are:
played with a human quality that makes them very real. Fighting or funning, they are believable. The war action shown is packed with thrills and suspense

On July 23, 1955, the "Harrison's Reports" wrote:

the mere fact that the story is genuine does not lift it to any great heights as a dramatic offering

In his September 23, 1955 review for "The New York Times", A.H. Weiler wrote that having Audie Murphy portraying himself:
lends stature, credibility and dignity to an autobiography that would be routine and hackneyed without him.


Today, several real estate companies are selling homes on what was once The Audie Murphy Ranch. One of two ranches he owned in 1956, his name is used for the housing developments, were he once raised quarter horses in the Menifee Valley is what is now the community of Menifee, California, in Riverside County. 

Audie would race his horses at the Del Mar Race Track, founded in 1936 under the leadership of singer/actor Bing Crosby, and located at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, in San Diego, County.

The other ranch was located in Pima, Arizona and was known as the "TM Ranch", for Audie's son Terry Murphy. At the time of this writing, there is a posting dated, December 30, 2019, on Facebook for "Arizona Origins",
that reads:

TM Ranch
Bought by Audie Murphy in 1956 the TM ranch was named after Terry Murphy (his son) and is approximately 30 miles southeast of Tucson in Pima County just outside the community of Vail. Although isolated in a very remote area of desert, Google approximately pinpoints its address as 16901 S. Old Sonoita Hwy., Vail, AZ 85641.
The 17,000 acre ranch was acquired from Harry Mack of Tucson for $180,000. The property included 4 sections of deeded land and 22 sections under state lease. To the north was Benson Highway (now Interstate 10). The ranch extended south from the highway at the Southern Pacific railroad tracks to the Empire Mountains. Water was provided by Cienega Creek and Davidson Canyon and both passed through the property. The ranch came with a spacious ranch home and a place where Audie could keep a recently purchased herd of Quarter horses. Originally a part a part of the historic Empire Ranch, the property was later sold to Guy Mitchell, movie actor, singer, and friend to Audie Murphy. It is not known who owns the property today but U.S. Geological Survey describes the property by the nickname of the "Murphy Ranch". Located at decimal Latitude 31.9425831 and decimal Longitude -110.612020, its elevation is listed as 3983 feet or 1214 mete

NIGHT PASSAGE premiered in Denver, Colorado, on July 17, 1957

The motion picture was to have been directed by Anthony Mann, his ninth with James Stewart, but claiming "other obligations", but more to his objection of casting Audie Murphy. Anthony Mann left the production and James Neilson was assigned by Universal Pictures. According to producer Aaron Rosenberg, the real reason was that Mann called the story trash and told Stewart that he only wanted the role, because he could play his accordion on screen. This led to a verbal disagreement between the two men and they never spoke to each other again.

James Stewart portrayed "Grant McLaine". Stewart had just portrayed "Charles Augustus 'Slim' Lindbergh" in director Billy Wilder's, 1957, "The Spirit of St. Louis". He would follow this feature with director Alfred Hitchcock's 1958, "Vertigo".

Audie Murphy portrayed "Lee McLaine aka: The Utica Kid". 

Dan Duryea portrayed "Whitey Harbin". Duryea had just starred as "Nat Harbin", no relation to "Whitey", with co-star Jayne Mansfield in 1957's, "The Burglar". He'd follow this picture co-starring with Richard Egan and Jan Sterling in 1957s', "Slaughter on 10th Avenue".

Dianne Foster portrayed "Charlotte 'Charlie' Drew". She had just co-starred in the still hard-hitting story of boxer "Barney Ross", 1957's, "Monkey on My Back", as portrayed by Cameron Mitchell. "Ross" became addicted to morphine, as a result of being treated by Marine Corps doctors during the Second World War for injuries he suffered. Foster also co-starred with Richard Conte and Kathryn Grant in 1957's, "The Brothers Rico".

According to Bob Larkins and Boyd Magers, in their 2004, "The Films of Audie Murphy", Dianne Foster witnessed Audie Murphy's "Legendary Temper". When Audie got angry at the horse he was riding, one of his own, and punched the horse in the face.

Elaine Stewart portrayed "Verna Kimball". She had just appeared in the Jeff Chandler and Jeanne Crain 1957 drama, "The Tattered Dress", and followed this film with the Adventure, 1958's, "High Hell".

Brandon De Wilde portrayed "Joey Adams". In 1953, he had portrayed "Joey Starrett" in director George Stevens', "Shane", starring Alan Ladd. He had just been seen in the touching, "tear jerking" family movie about a boy and his found dog, 1956's, "Good-bye, My Lady". De Wilde would co-star with Carol Lynley in 1959's, "Blue Denim", about two unmarried teens that discover she is pregnant.

"Grant McLaine" is riding the railroad to meet his old boss, railroad tycoon, "Ben Kimball", portrayed by Jay C. Flippen. A young boy, "Joey" is getting in trouble having not paid to be on the train, but "Grant" gets him out of it and they become friends.

"Kimball" tells "Grant" that his payroll has been robbed three-times already and wants him to go undercover with the next payroll to get it through. "Grant" doesn't want the job until he learns the gang is co-led by the "Utica Kid", his brother, and will ride the next train carrying the $10,000 payroll. "Kimball's" number two, "Jeff Kurth", portrayed by Hugh Beaumont, believes "Grant" will fail.

On the train the money is placed in a shoebox that is held by "Joey" in a ploy to avoid the robbers finding it. The train robbery comes off and to "Grant's" surprise, "Joey" is a friend of the "Utica Kid". "Joey" leaves with him carrying the shoebox. Additionally, "Whitey" kidnaps "Verna Kimball", who is on the train for possible ransom.

"Grant" goes after the gang, and pretends to join them. "Whitey" doesn't know the brother's relationship and cautiously buys into "Grant". Who tells his brother where the payroll is, in an attempt to reform him, but it doesn't work and "Lee" gives his brother ten-minutes to leave before he tells "Whitey" who he is. "Grant" calls his brothers bluff and it works. However, things go sideways when "Will Renner", portrayed by Herbert Anderson, "Whitey's" railroad informant, recognizes a song "Grant" is singing, the "Bullfrog Song" Lee and Grant's father always sang to them, and identifies him as the man carrying the payroll. 

Next comes a gunfight between "Grant" and "Whitey's" gang, but taking "Verna", "Grant" makes it to the stable in which "Charlotte", "Lee's" girlfriend, is in. 

"Joey" had left with the "Utica Kid" before the gunfight, and the three ride after them. "Lee" and "Joey" are at an old ore mill where "Whitey" is shooting at them to get the payroll. "Grant" is able to send "Verna" to safety in an ore cart that she rides down the hill. "Charlotte" starts to reload "Grant's" guns, as "Lee" plans to use the two as a diversion and escape "Whitey" taking "Joey" and the money. However, he has a change of heart after "Whitey" shoots "Joey" and "Lee" goes after the other. "Whitey" will be killed by "Grant", but "Lee" dies in "Grant's" arms after admitting that the "Bullfrog" song had gotten to him.

Yes, that is Jack Elam, to Dan Duryea's right portraying "Shotgun".

Next Audie Murphy starred in a controversial motion picture based upon a controversial novel.

THE QUIET AMERICAN released on February 5, 1958

The screenplay was supposed to be based upon English author Graham Greene's, 1955 novel, "The Quiet American". Greene had written two novels turned into classic screenplays, 1943's, "The Ministry of Fear", starring Ray Milland, and 1949's, "The Third Man", starring Joseph Cotton and Orson Welles.

The screenplay was credited to producer and director Joseph L. Mankiewicz. 

Graham Greene's 1955 novel, "The Quiet American", had an anti-American sentiment, because of the Eisenhower Administrations policies in Southeast Asia that Greene's observed as a British reporter in Saigon. However, that anti-American sentiment was removed and the Mankiewicz screenplay became pro-American. Graham Greene was not "The Quiet Britisher" over what was done to his work.

Humphrey Bogart was the first consideration for the role known simply as "The American" in both the novel and screenplay, but he didn't want it and it was given to Montgomery Clift. 

Sir Laurence Olivier was cast to play opposite Clift as "Thomas Fowler". However, Montgomery Clift became ill and the role was offered to Audie Murphy, who accepted

Two things next happened, the first, according to Hedda Hopper's, December 14, 1956, column in the "Los Angeles Times", "Audie Murphy Will Do 'Quiet American", quoted the actor as stating
my part is one of the greatest I've ever had. 

Audie Murphy added, that he would never have done the role, if Joseph L. Mankiewicz had not changed the anti-American sentiment of the novel to the pro-American of the screenplay. 

As a result of the hiring of Audie Murphy, Sir Laurence Olivier walked away from the picture and Sir Michael Redgrave replaced him.

This was the first American motion picture shot in Vietnam.

The setting is Saigon in 1952, "The American" is an idealistic economist working for an international aide organization. He becomes caught in a tug-of-war between the French colonists and the growing Communists for the control of the country. At one point "The American" steals away a "Vietnamese woman" portrayed by Italian-German actress, Giorgia Moll, from a cynical English newspaper man named "Fowler". "Fowler" retaliates by claiming "The Quiet American" is actually selling arms to the anti-Communists bringing about the final confrontation between the two men.



THE GUN RUNNERS released in September 1958

In 1937, Ernest Hemingway published his novel "To Have and Have Not", and in 1944 it became mainly associated with director Howard Hawks' film version. Not because of Hemingway's writing, but a line in the screenplay given by first time actress Lauren Bacall to her future husband, Humphrey Bogart, a line that Ernest Hemingway never wrote. 

The 1944 motion picture, the second 1950 version starring John Garfield and Patricia Neal, and this one, can be found in my article, "Ernest Hemingway's 'To Have and Have Not' on the Motion Picture Screen and on Radio", at:

The motion picture was directed by Donald Siegel, not yet just calling himself Don Siegel, as he had for Audie Murphy's 1952's, "The Duel at Silver Creek". He had just released 1958's, "The Lineup", a Crime Film-Noir starring Eli Wallach. Siegel would follow this feature with a Crime Mystery, 1959's, "Edge of Eternity", starring Cornell Wilde. Back in 1956, Don Siegel directed the cult Science Fiction/Horror entry, the original "Invasion of the Body Snatchers". 

The main screenplay writer was Daniel Mainwaring who wrote 1956's, "Invasion of the Body Snatchers", but also the classic Crime Film-Noir, 1947's, "Out of the Past", starring Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer, and Kirk Douglas. Along with the Don Siegel directed, 1957, "Baby Face Nelson", starring Mickey Rooney.

The other screenplay writer was Paul Monash, who would write the pilot/motion picture, "The Scarface Mob", for televisions "The Untouchables".

Both motion pictures are found in my article, "1957 To 1961 HOLLYWOOD GANGSTER  MOTIONS PICTURES VS REALITY" at:

Audie Murphy portrayed "Sam Martin". He would follow this picture with two Westerns, 1958's, "Ride a Crooked Trail", and 1959's, "No Name on the Bullet". Director Siegel made it known he wasn't happy with having Audie Murphy in this role.

Eddie Albert portrayed "Hanagan". Albert had just starred in the War drama, 1958's, "Orders to Kill", and would follow this feature with director John Huston's, 1958, "Roots of Heaven". Albert's motion picture career is largely overshadowed by the television series, "Green Acres", 1965 through 1971, co-starring with Eva Gabor, and the actor's other television series, "Switch", 1975 through 1978.

Patricia Owens portrayed "Lucy Martin". Owens obtained cult Science Fiction status as the wife accused of murdering her husband in 1958's, "The Fly", released just prior to this picture. However, she also co-starred with Robert Taylor and Richard Widmark in 1958's, "The Law and Jake Wade", and with Marlon Brando in 1957's, "Sayonara". For Horror fans, my article, "THE FLY: The 1958, 1959, 1965 Original Trilogy of Science Fiction/Horror", may ask for your help at:


Above, one wonders who made the decision to make Patricia Owens look like Lauren Bacall in the motion picture?

Everett Sloane portrayed "Harvey". Character actor Sloane started out with Orson Welles' "Mercury Theatre of the Air", and was "Mr. Bernstein" in 1941's, "Citizen Kane", but was now appearing strictly on television. He was an "Official Detective Investigator", on the forgotten 1957 through 1958, television series "Official Detective". He wouldn't appear in another motion picture until 1960's, "Home from the Hill", but had been on Walt Disney's "Zorro", "Alfred Hitchcock Presents", "The Twilight Zone", and seven other television programs between this picture and that one.

This was a very thin version of the Hemmingway novel and actually used some of the created plot points from the second version, 1950's, "Breaking Point". 

"Sam Martin" owns a charter fishing boat in the Florida Keys, but charters have slowed down and he has a serious gambling problem. His wife "Lucy" and his best friend and mate, "Harvey", have kept him out of trouble up until now, but unknown to both, "Sam" faces bankruptcy with what he owes the bookies. He is approached by a charismatic, but crooked gun smuggler named "Hannigan". Who offers to pay-off "Sam's" gambling debts, if he'll run some guns to Cuban Revolutionaries, "Sam" accepts and finds himself mixed-up with "Hannigan's" plans of double crossing the Cubans and murder!

Above is Richard Jaeckel portraying "Buzuki", holding a gun to Audie Murphy's back.

Above and below is Gita Hall portraying "Eva", "Hannigan's" girlfriend.

After starring in director Jack Arnold's, (the director of 1953's "It Came from Outer Space", 1954's "The Creature from the Black Lagoon", 1955's "Tarantula", and 1957's "The Incredible Shrinking Man"), excellent and previously mentioned, 1959 Western, "No Name on the Bullet", that was released in February 1959.

Audie Murphy found himself in a somewhat unusual for him Western and the last motion picture shot in CinemaScope by Universal International Pictures.

THE WILD AND THE INNOCENT released on May 17, 1959

The motion picture was directed by co-screenplay writer Jack Sher. Who was about to direct stop-motion-animator Ray Harryhausen's, 1960, "The 3 Worlds of Gulliver". Sher was primarily a writer and had worked on the screenplays for Audie Murphy's, 1956, "World in My Corner", the same year's, "Walk the Proud Land", and 1957's, "Joe Butterfly".

The other screenplay writer was Sy Gomberg, who also created the story for the picture. Gomberg had co-written the screenplay for the Judy Garland and Gene Kelly, 1950, "Summer Stock" and Murphy's, 1957, "Joe Butterfly". Sy Gomberg was also the producer for this motion picture.

Audie Murphy portrayed "Yancy Hawks". Audie Murphy followed this motion picture with the 1959, Western, "Cast a Long Shadow", co-starring with Terry Moore, and John Dehner.

Joanne Dru portrayed "Marcy Howard". Dru was guest appearing on television at the time, her previous motion picture was Walt Disney's, 1958, "The Light in the Forest".

Gilbert Roland portrayed "Sheriff Paul Bartell". Roland had just co-starred with Jock Mahoney and Linda Cristal in the 1958 Western, "The Last of the Fast Guns". He would follow this picture with producer Irwin Allen's, all-star, 1959, "The Big Circus".

Jim Backus portrayed "Cecil Forbes". From 1952 through 1955, Backus co-starred with comedian Joan Davis, on the popular comedy television show, "I Married Joan". From 1950 through 1977, Jim Backus was the voice of cartoon character "Mr. Magoo". He was James Dean's father in 1955's, "Rebel Without a Cause", he had his own television program, "The Jim Backus Show", from 1960 through 1961, but is known more for portraying "Thurston Howell III", from 1964 through 1992, on televisions "Gilligan's Island".

Below is the only still I could locate with Jim Backus in it. He's on the right in a band costume. That's Peter Beck portraying "Chip Miller", after a fight with Audie Murphy.

Sandra Dee portrayed "Rosalie Stocker". Dee had just co-starred with James Darren and Cliff Robertson in 1959's, "Gidget". She followed this feature film with 1959's, "A Summer Place", co-starring with Richard Egan and Dorothy McGuire.

Shy and naïve mountain trapper "Yancy" accompanies his "Uncle Lije", portrayed by George Mitchell, and his uncle's native American wife across Wyoming to trade their beaver pelts for supplies and money. The three arrive at the trading post, but discovered it was burnt down by a native American who was sold whiskey by "Ben Stocker", portrayed by character actor Strother Martin. The trading post owner tells the three they must travel two more days to the major town of Casper and the three plan to leave. Before "Yancy" leaves with the beaver pelts, "Stocker" attempts to sell his oldest daughter, "Rosalie", to him for some of the pelts, but is turned down.

The following day "Yancy" finds out that "Rosalie" has run away from her father and wants to have him take her to Casper. The two innocents now arrive in Casper, Wyoming, and the story follows their discoveries and each being taken advantage of by two people.

"Yancy" buys "Rosalie" some new clothing and "Sheriff Bartell" offers to get her a job at the local dance hall. Naïve "Yancy" and "Rosalie" think that would be all right. "Yancy" falls under the spell of "Marcy Howard", but learns the truth about the dance hall from general store owner, "Cecil Forbes", and goes to get "Rosalie". There he is confronted by "Bartell" and is forced to shoot him in self-defense, but gets "Rosalie" away from the dance hall.

"Yancy" wants to leave "Rosalie" with "Cecil Forbes" and his wife, portrayed by Betty Harford. However, "Rosalie" refuses to be left even with the "Forbes" and the movie ends with her riding behind "Yancy" on his horse beside "Uncle Lije" and his wife.

One more "B" Western followed the previously mentioned, 1959's "Cast a Long Shadow", entitled "Hell Bent for Leather", released on February 1, 1960, and next, Audie Murphy was finally in an "A" List Western, but with third-billing.

THE UNFORGIVEN premiered in New York City on April 6, 1960

The motion picture was directed by John Huston. John Huston's attempt at making an Akira Kurosawa samurai motion picture, 1958's, "The Barbarian and the Geisha", starring John Wayne, was released before this feature. The motion picture was cut by 20th Century Fox into an unrecognizable mess from Huston's vision editing out 72-minutes.. That film is part of my article, "JOHN HUSTON: 'Moby Dick' 1956, 'The Barbarian and the Geisha' 1958, 'Freud, the Secret Passion'1962, and 'The List of Adrian Messenger'1963", will be found at: 

The screenplay was based upon a novel by author Alan Brown Le May. In 1954, Le May published "The Searchers", which revolves around a search for a young white girl taken and raised by a Comanche tribe as their own. In 1957, Le May published the originally titled, "Kiowa Moon", that would be retitled, "The Unforgiven. Part of that second story is the reverse of "The Searchers", with a white man taking a young Indian girl and raising her as his own. Through both novels, Le May looks at Eisenhower Era attitudes toward racism, using the context of the American West, right after the Civil War, to express what was not openly discussed in 1950's America. 

Ben Maddow wrote the screenplay and he had previously adapted the novel "Kiss the Blood Off My Hands", that became the Joan Fontaine, Burt Lancaster, and Robert Newton, 1948, motion picture of that same title. His other works includes director John Huston's, 1950, "The Asphalt Jungle", and without on-screen credit, 1953's, "The Wild One", starring Marlon Brando, the Joan Crawford 1954 Western, "Johnny Guitar", and director Anthony Mann's 1958 version of author Erskine Caldwell's, "God's Little Acre", starring Robert Ryan and Tina Louise.

Burt Lancaster portrayed "Ben Zachary". He had just been seen in the 1959 film adaption of British playwright George Bernard Shaw's, "The Devil's Disciple", co-starring with Kirk Douglas and Sir Laurence Olivier. Lancaster would follow this motion picture with his "Academy Award for Best Actor" and his "Golden Globe Award for Best Actor" performance in 1960's, "Elmer Gantry". 

What most people do not know, is that long before he became an actor, Burt Lancaster ran away and joined a circus to become an acrobat. That true story is in my article, "Burt Lancaster: Circus Acrobat Turned Actor", that may be read at:


Audrey Hepburn portrayed "Rachel Zachery". Hepburn had just portrayed "Sister Luke", in 1959's, "The Nun's Story", and would follow this motion picture portraying "Holly Golightly" in 1961's, "Breakfast at Tiffany's".

Audie Murphy portrayed "Cash Zachery". Murphy followed this motion picture with the "B" Western, 1960's, "Seven Ways from Sundown", co-starring with Barry Sullivan. 

John Saxon portrayed "Johnny Portugal". Saxon had just co-starred with Howard Keel and Susan Kohner, in the 1959 Biblical epic, "The Big Fisherman". He followed this picture by co-starring with Lana Turner, Anthony Quinn, and Sandra Dee, in 1960's, "Portrait in Black".

Charles Bickford portrayed "Zeb Rawlins". In 1958, Bickford portrayed "Major Henry Terrill" in director William Wyler's, epic Western, "The Big Country", starring Gregory Peck, Jean Simmons, and Carroll Baker. Since that film, Charles Bickford had been appearing on television and would continue appearing on television after this picture until 1962's, "The Days of Wine and Roses", starring Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick.

Lilian Gish portrayed "Mattilda Zachery". Known as the "First Lady of American Cinema", Lilian Gish had been acting in films since 1912 and on March 28, 1960, was seen on televisions "Play of the Week", in "The Glass Harp". She would continue on television until 1987, when she appeared opposite Bette Davis, in the motion picture "The Whales of August".

Albert Salmi portrayed "Charles Rawlins". Underrated Salmi was stuck on television programs and his last motion picture had been the Gregory Peck Western, 1958's, "The Bravados". That same year he co-starred with Yul Bryner in director Richard Brooks' version of Russian author Fyodor Dostovesky's, "The Brothers Karamazov", but after this movie, it wouldn't be until 1967, before Albert Salmi returned to motion pictures. That year he was seen in both the George Scott, Comedy, "The Film-Flam Man", and director John Sturges' Western, "Hour of the Gun".

Joseph Wiseman portrayed "Abe Kelsey". Character actor Wiseman had been on the motion picture screen since 1941. Among his pictures are director William Wyler's, 1951, "Detective Story", starring Kirk Douglas, Eleanor Parker, and William Bendix, 1952's, "Viva Zapata", starring Marlon Brando and Anthony Quinn, director Lewis Milestone's 1952 version of French author Victor Hugo's  "Les Misérables", starring Michael Rennie, and the somewhat weird Biblical epic, 1954's, "The Silver Chalice", starring Paul Newman.

However, most people only know Joseph Wiseman for one title film role, although they may not know his name. Wiseman was 1962's, "Dr. No", in the first "James Bond" motion picture starring Sean Connery.

Doug McClure portrayed "Andy Zachery". McClure had been acting on-screen since 1956, but mainly in uncredited roles on television. He did get 14th-billing portraying "Waikiki" in 1959's, "Gidget", but floated on television afterwards until this motion picture. 

While waiting for this film's release, McClure appeared in the one season, 1960, television series "Overland Trail", co-starred on the detective series, "Checkmate", 1960 through 1962, which led to the Western television series, "The Virginian", 1962 through 1971.

Before I explain the films story, now that I have mentioned the film's main cast, director and writer. Let me regress into how Audie Murphy was given the role of "Cash Zachery". Which is just a part of a problem filled movie. Which became the last film of the Hecht-Hill-Lancaster (Harold Hecht, James Hill, Burt Lancaster) production company. 

Hecht-Hill-Lancaster hired Delbert Mann to direct. His film's included 1955's, "Marty", both 1958's, "Desire Under the Elms", and "Separate Tables", with Lancaster, and 1960's, "Dark at the Top of the Stairs". Problems developed and Mann was replaced by John Huston.

Hecht-Hill-Lancaster had hired J.P. Miller, a dramatic television writer to write the screenplay, he bowed out, and was replaced by Ben Maddow. 

The finished screenplay brought John Huston and Burt Lancaster to odds over the screenplay's content, see link below, because:
Lancaster and his backers wanted a commercial and therefore not really controversial film, while Huston wanted to show the roots of racism in America. In the end, neither side got what they wanted to have actually 

Richard Burton was to have portrayed "Cash Zachery", but when he demanded equal billing with Burt Lancaster, he was dropped and the role went to Audie Murphy. 

Filming began in Durango, Mexico, in January 1959, but was stopped for several months after Audrey Hepburn fell off a horse and broke her back during a rehearsal. She would recover and return to the film, but had a miscarriage that was blamed on the accident. However, Audrey Hepburn stated the accident was her fault and no one else's. 

The Basic Screenplay:

The "Zachary's" are a respected Texas border family, "Mattilda's" husband "Will" was killed by the Kiowa's and eldest son, "Ben" became the head of the household, with includes brothers "Cash" and "Andy" and their adopted sister "Rachel".

The "Zachary's" nearest neighbor and "Ben's" business partner "Zeb Rawlins's" shy son, "Charlie", is in love with "Rachel", but needs "Ben's" approval to court her.  While, the hired hand and horse breaker, "Johnny Portugal" is also in love with "Rachel". However, she is secretly in love with "Ben".

While the "Zachary's" and the "Rawlins" are preparing a cattle drive to Wichita, Kansas. Into the "Zachary's" lives rides Confederate Civil War Vet, "Abe Kelsey". Who first appears as "Rachel" is out riding her horse and next appears at the "Zachery" home and claims "Rachel" is Kiowa by birth. Believing "Kelsey" is a liar, they engage in a gunfight with him, kill his horse, but "Abe Kelsey" steals "Rachel's" white horse and gets away.

Next, a Kiowa Indian Brave, "Lost Bird", portrayed by Carlos Rivas,  comes to the "Zachery's" place claiming that "Rachel" is his sister and tells them that he learned that fact from "Kelsey". "Lost Bird" offers to trade several fine horses for "Rachel", but "Ben" refuses.

Shortly after the the above, "Charlie Rawlins" is killed by a Kiowa brave and "Charlie's" mother, "Hagar Rawlins", portrayed by June Walker, calls "Rachel" a dirty Injun". As "Ben" leads the other ranchers in tracking down "Abe Kelsey". He is caught, brought back to the "Rawlins" ranch, and has a noose around his neck and the other end of the rope tied to a tree. 

"Abe" claims "Rachel" is a Kiowa girl child, adding that along with "Will Zachery" they led a raid on the Kiowa's, but "Will" saw a baby girl and instead of killing her, took her as his own. "Abe's" son was being held for ransom by the Kiowa for "Rachel's" return, but "Will" refused and "Abe Kelsey's" son was killed. 

"Ben Zachery" counters "Abe's" story, telling the assembled ranchers that "Kelsey's" son was killed in the original fighting. That over the years, "Abe" has appeared with his made-up story and the "Zachery" family has had to move on. Just then, "Mattilda", who is among the wives waiting for the trackers return, can't take it anymore and hits "Abe Kelsey's" horse, hanging the man. What follows is that even after "Ben" states "Abe" was insane, the other ranchers now turn on the "Zachery's" and they leave.

Back at their ranch, "Mattilda" is forced to answer the question, is "Rachel" really a Kiowa?

Her answer brings out "Cash's" hatred of Kiowa's and his racist feelings are directed toward the sister he had loved. "Cash" leaves home for the comfort of "Zeb Rawlins's" daughter, "Georgia", portrayed by Kipp Hamilton.

"Lost Bird" returns with other Kiowa Braves to demand his sister be returned to him. The truce the family has had for years with the Kiowa's is broken, when "Ben" orders "Andy" to shoot one of the braves after telling "Lost Bird" he cannot have their sister "Rachel".

"Ben", "Andy", "Rachel", and "Mattilda" close the front door and prepare for the attack on their fortified house. It comes almost immediately and what follows are four people fighting for their lives. "Andy" will be wounded, shooting his way through the attackers comes "Cash", but his mother is wounded and dies during the attack. "Lost Bird" and his Kiowa Braves continue their attack with the "Zachery" house being set on fire. "Lost Bird" finds a way inside to "Rachel". He calls her his sister, but she takes her pistol and kills him. The other Kiowa leave the ranch and the three brothers and their sister turn to the burial of their mother.



Also, in 1960, Audie Murphy received the "Outstanding Civilian Service Award", now called the "Meritorious Public Service Medal". From 1951 through 1964, was the documentary television program, "The Big Picture", produced by the United States Army Signal Corps', Army Pictorial Service. The episode entitled "Broken Bridge", was the source for the award. The official description of the program is described below:
Actor and former war hero Audie Murphy visits NATO installations and remnants of the Nazi past in Germany and is given demonstrations of numerous U.S. Army defense systems, including rockets and missiles. His former company commander, Colonel William Kendall, escorts him and explains how rocketry has altered the artillery program of the army.

Audie Murphy and John Saxon were reunited in the 1961 Western, "Posse from Hell". About a deputy sheriff, Murphy, and a tenderfoot banker from New York, Saxon. Who had just arrived in the Western town of "Paradise" on business, teaming-up to get the gang that killed the sheriff, robbed the bank, and kidnapped a young woman, played by Zohra Lambert. It's a lot better than it sounds, because of the two leads.

The motion picture was produced and directed by Herbert Coleman, who performed the same role for Murphy's Second World War picture, "Battle at Blood Beach", released June 1, 1961. It should be noted that the overlooked and forgotten Coleman was the associate producer, and second unit director for director Alfred Hitchcock's, 1954's, "Rear Window", 1955, "The Trouble with Harry", 1955's, "To Catch a Thief", 1956's, "The Man Who Knew Too Much", 1956's, "The Wrong Man", 1958's, "Vertigo", and 1959's, "North by Northwest". Herbert Coleman would go on to produce 16-episodes of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents".

WHISPERING SMITH the television series from May 8, 1961 through October 30, 1961

The above dates are misleading, although that was the period the series originally ran and appeared on the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC). The main producer was once again, Herman Coleman.

Back in 1906, Western fiction author Frank H. Spearman wrote his novel "Whispering Smith", based upon real-life Union Pacific Railroad detectives, Timothy Keliher and Joe Lefors. The novel became the basis for three silent movies in 1916, 1926, and 1927 with the first sound version in 1935. In 1948, Alan Ladd, starred in a classic Western as the title character, and in 1951, Richard Carlson starred in a modern version set in London, England. Now it was Audie Murphy's turn.

If there had been problems with "The Unforgiven", there had been bigger problems with what should have been Audie Murphy's 1959 television Western.

Shooting began in 1959, but after seven-episodes, co-star, pop-singer Guy Mitchell, the American Broadcasting Corporation's (ABC), 1957, "The Guy Mitchell Show", fell off a horse and broke his shoulder. By the time Mitchell had recovered, Audie Murphy was filming "Hell Bent for Leather", from August 17 through September 11, 1959. Which further delayed shooting the television series.

If that wasn't enough, actor Sam Buffington, who was playing "Police Chief John Richards", committed suicide. Buffington was only twenty-eight-years-old, and a replacement actor had to be found.

Continuing with the series problems, it was finally scheduled to start, but was pre-empted by an NBC News Special. After the series did premiere on May 8, 1961, the United States Senate's Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency considered the series as excessively violent and Audie Murphy rushed to Washington, D.C. to appear before the committee and argue in its favor.

At the hearing, the Senate Committee viewed the May 15, 1961 episode, "The Grudge". According to a June 6, 1961, New York Times article, "Delinquency Rise Laid to TV Shows". That twenty-six-minute episode was about a bloody revenge and contained a fist fight, a mother horsewhipping her son, a fabricated claim of sexual assault in a hotel room, a story told about a man who laughed after shooting another in the stomach six-times, a gunfight ending in injury, and the mother who horsewhipped her son accidently killing her daughter instead of "Whispering Smith".

The Senate committee estimated that 250,000 children had watched "The Grudge", at 9 PM, the Monday night it was shown on television, a school night. It followed NBC's other Western series, "Tales of Wells Fargo" and was opposite the Columbia Broadcasting System's (CBS), family program, "The Danny Thomas Show", and the second half of the American Broadcasting Corporation's (ABC), one-hour detective series "Surfside 6". The senate apparently never stated the age range of the children they claimed watched Audie Murphy's program.

Only twenty of the twenty-six episodes were ever broadcast.

In 1962, the first of seventeen songs written by Audie Murphy between that year and 1970, was recorded. The title was "SHUTTERS AND BOARDS", and would be recorded by Jerry Wallace, Dean Martin, Jimmy Dean, the Johnny Mann Singers, Teresa Brewer and others for a total, including in Germany and Sweden, of 60 versions. 

The lyrics are:
Shutters and boards cover the windows of the house we used to live
All I have left is a heart full of sorrow since she said she'd never forgive

The house that we built was once full of laughter
But I changed the laughter to tears
And now I live in a world without sunshine
Oh, how I wish you were here

Shutters and boards cover the windows of the house we used to live
All I have left is a heart full of sorrow since she said she'd never forgive

Last night I dreamed that you came to our house
To take an old book from the shelf
If you'll open the shutters, I'll tear down the boards
Cause I drove every nail by myself

Shutters and boards cover the windows of the house we used to live
All I have left is a heart full of sorrow since she said she'd never forgive

One more time

Shutters and boards cover the windows of the house we used to live
All I have left is a heart full of sorrow since she said she'd never forgive

In 1962, Audie Murphy would also write, "When the Wind Blows in Chicago", recorded by Roy Clark, Eddie Arnold, and Jerry Wallace. "Please Mr. Music Man Play a Song for Me", recorded by Dick Contino and Harry Nilsson, "Foolish Clock", recorded by Harry Nilsson, "Leave the Weeping to the Willow Tree", recorded by Bonnie Guitar, and "The Only Light I Need is You", recorded, but not released by Jerry Wallace, and released by Harry Nilsson. 

The titles of the other songs and the artists that recorded them will be found at:

Next came the reuniting of Audie Murphy and Dan Duryea in a very interesting story line for a "B" Western.

SIX BLACK HORSES premiered in Los Angeles on March 9, 1962

Director Harry Keller started out as a film editor in 1939 and edited 63-motion pictures by 1985. While in 1949, Keller became a motion picture director and directed 91-titles until 1968.  Harry Keller directed the 1955 television series "Commander Cody: Sky Marshall of the Universe". Along with reshooting, without credit, some of the scenes in director/actor Orson Welles', 1958 classic, "Touch of Evil", and both Sandra Dee's, 1961, "Tammy Tell Me True", and her 1963, "Tammy and the Doctor".

The story and screenplay were by Burt Kennedy. Kennedy had just directed his first film, a period piece about the Canadian Mounted Police, 1961's, "The Canadians", starring Robert Ryan and Torin Thatcher, which he had also written. He followed this film by both writing and directing four-episodes of the television series, "Lawman". 

Burt Kennedy wrote the role of "Ben Lane" in this feature thinking of Richard Widmark in the role.

Audie Murphy portrayed "Ben Lane". He would follow this Western with another, 1963's, "Showdown", co-starring with Kathleen Crowley and Charles Drake.

Dan Duryea portrayed "Frank Jesse". It was two-years since Duryea had been in a feature motion picture. He had appeared on television between that previous motion picture and this one, nine-times. Between this film and his next would be another six television appearances.

Joan O'Brien portrayed "Kelly". Since 1954, O'Brien was primarily a television actress, but in 1960 she had portrayed "Mrs. Sue Dickinson" in John Wayne's "The Alamo". In 1961, O' Brien left television for the John Wayne motion pictures "The Comancheros", only her second motion picture, this was Joan O'Brien's third motion picture.

The plot was unique for the even "B" Westerns at the time. "Ben Lane" is in the desert breaking a horse he believes is a stray. A group of ranchers appears and he learns the horse belongs to one of them, but instead of believing his story, they want to hang the "Horse Thief". "Frank Jesse" comes along and rescues "Ben" and the two become friends.

Later, "Lane" and "Jesse" are looking for work and a woman, "Kelly", offers them $1,000 each, to take her safely across Indian country to meet her husband in another town. "Lane" is befriended by a collie and the dog now travels with them, even riding with "Lane" on his horse.

What the two men do not know, is that "Kelly" wants "Frank" dead for actually murdering her husband, and as they travel, "Kelly" attempts to seduce "Ben" into doing the killing by offering him "Frank's" $1,000.

During and after the Korean War, Audie Murphy spoke to returning veterans facing the still referred to "Battle Fatigue" and "Shell Stock". Showing his support, Murphy told of his own problems after returning from the Second World War, admitting he was still experiencing them. Now, ten-years later, in 1963, with the "New" Vietnam War, that technically started on November 1, 1955, Audie Leon Murphy was speaking to that war's returning veterans and admitting to them, that he still suffered.

Four more formula Westerns followed the previously mentioned 1963, "Showdown", taking Audie Murphy to:

ARIZONA RAIDERS released on August 1 1965

The motion picture was directed by William Witney. Witney started as an associate director on the Gene Autry, Science Fiction Cliff-Hanger, 1935's, "The Phantom Empire", in which the survivors of the lost continent of Mu are living below Gene's "Melody Ranch". In 1937, William Witney started fulltime directing with the Hoot Gibson, Ray "Crash" Corrigan, Western Cliff-Hanger, "The Painted Stallion". In 1938, it was the first time "The Lone Ranger" appeared on-screen in the Cliff-Hanger of that name. Among his other Cliff-Hangers were both 1937's, "Zorro Rides Again" and 1939's, "Zorro's Fighting Legion", 1940's, "The Mysterious Dr. Satan", 1941's, "The Adventures of Captain Marvel", 1942's, "Spy Smasher", and 1946's, "The Crimson Ghost". Starting with 30-episodes of televisions "Tales of the Century", 1954 through 1955, William Witney switched primarily to television Westerns and Adventure series, by his last episode of a German television series about "Zorro" in 1978, he would have 174 titles to his directing credit that did not reflect on the numbers of episodes of each television title he also had directed.

Audie Murphy portrayed "Clint Stewart". He had just been seen in director William Witney's, "Apache Rifles". Audie would follow this picture with the spy thriller I will mention next.




Michael Dante portrayed "Brady". He had just been seen in the Carol Lynley, very lose 1965 biography, "Harlow", and followed this feature with an appearance in "The Brass Box", episode of televisions "Bonanza". Following this film with one episode each on televisions "Get Smart" and "Star Trek (Friday's Child)", and 17-episodes of "Custer", portraying "Sioux War Chief Crazy Horse".

Ben Cooper portrayed "Willie Martin". Cooper had just appeared in his third episode of televisions "Gunsmoke", "Two Tall Men", and would follow this feature film with his second appearance on televisions Second World War show, "Combat".

Buster Crabbe portrayed "Captain Andrews". Crabbe had just been in the Dan Duryea, Rod Cameron, and Audrey Dalton, 1965, Western, "The Bounty Killer", and would follow this feature film in 1979's, "Swim Team". My article, "Tarzan, Flash Gordon, Buck Rodgers, Billy the Kid, and LARRY 'BUSTER' CRABBE", will be read at:

Gloria Talbott portrayed "Martina". Talbot had just been seen in her third episode of televisions "Death Valley Days", in "Kat Melville and the Law", and would follow this feature with her fourth appearance on televisions "Perry Mason", in "The Case of the Unwelcomed Well". My article, "Peggie Castle, Allison Hayes, Gloria Talbott and 1950's Sci-Fi Movies", is to be found at:

Another rewriting of history related to "William Quantrill", portrayed by "Fred Graham". The Civil War is over and Confederate war hero "Clint Stewart" goes to Arizona, not Kansas, and somehow, joins "Quantrill's Raiders". He is captured and sent to prison with his friend, "Willie Martin". Knowing both men's history, "Captain Andrews" of the Arizona Rangers, gets the two friends to go along with a prison break to help the rangers, which they are now a part of, to capture a band of raiders ."Clint" has an old score to settle with, "Montana Smith", portrayed by George Keymas, who now leads what was once "Quantrill's" men. However, "Clint" plans not to follow through with his agreement with "Captain Andrews" and ride out of Arizona, but both his younger brother and "Willie" are killed by "Smith". "Clint' is now out for revenge against "Montana Smith" and he goes after him and the others with the help of "Captain Andrews" and his fellow Arizona Rangers.


How about what some reviewers described as Audie Murphy playing "James Bond" in an Israeli-West German co-production filmed in West Germany and Italy.


The motion picture was directed by Israeli Menahem Golan (Menahem Globus). With his cousin Yoram Globus, they would form the "Cannon" film production company.

American Marc Behm co-wrote the screenplay with two others. Among his screenplays are the Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn, 1963, "Charade", and The Beatles, 1965, "HELP!". 

The second of three co-writers, Polish born, Holocaust survivor, Artur Brauner. Who among others, worked with American Film-Noir director Robert Siodmark on his five German films, German director Fritz Lang on three films, British director Terence Fisher on his German-United Kingdom, 1962, "Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly Necklace", starring Christopher Lee, and Spanish director Jesus "Jesse" Franco on eight motion pictures.

The third co-writer, Alexander Ramati, was a Poland born Second World War correspondent. With the allies he entered the Italian city of Assisi in June 1944. It was in that city that the Catholic Church to save Jews had established the "Assisi Network", or "Assisi Underground" to hide them from the Nazi's. Ramati wrote a non-fiction book, "The Assisi Underground" in 1978, and turned his work into a motion picture in 1988. Back in 1966, he wrote and directed "Sands of Beersheba", starring Diane Baker, and David Opatoshu, in a love story set after the 1948 Palestinian War.

Audie Murphy portrayed "Mike Merrick". Murphy would return to "B" Westerns after this motion picture with 1966's, "Gunpoint", co-starring with Joan Staley and Warren Stevens.

George Sanders portrayed "Professor Schlieben". Sanders bookended this film's release with two television appearances, prior on "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.", in "The Yukon Affair", and afterwards on "Daniel Boone", in "Crisis by Fire". 

Marianne Koch portrayed "Helga Schlieben". The German actress is probably best known to American audiences for portraying "Marisol" in Italian director Sergio Leone's, 1964, "Per un pugno di dollari (For a Bunch of Dollars)" aka: "For a Fistful of Dollars". 

International agent "Mike Merrick" is sent to Cairo, Egypt, technically called the "United Arab Republic" at the time, to investigate German scientist "Professor Schlieben". "Merrick" might actually be an Israeli agent, it's not made clear in the film, and the professor may be working with Neo-Nazi's. 

"Mike" becomes involved with the professor's daughter, "Helga", and learns her father is building a moon rocket. A rocket designed like the German Second World War legendary "New York Rocket". Additionally, it is nuclear powered raising the possibility of it actually being a nuclear weapon.

"Professor Schlieben's" operational center is guarded by the Egyptian army under direct command of President Gamal Abdel Nasser. With typical 1960's secret agent ability, "Mike" is able to get by the Egyptian army guards, enter the professor's private quarters and destroy the blueprints for the moon rocket.

Later, "Mike" encounters the Muslim, "Holy Islam Freedom Fighters", who want the rocket destroyed, but trust no one, especially an Israeli secret agent. Eluding a trap, "Mike" kidnaps "Helga" as a plan to force the professor to leave Egypt. 

"Mike" and "Helga" leave Egypt in a submarine and arrive in Rome, Italy. However, the two are captured by Egyptians. "Mike" is placed in a trunk to be sent back to Cairo, but when "Mike's" Italian counterparts stop the trunk and capture the Egyptian's. "The Trunk to Cairo" is opened and "Mike" isn't in it, but his Egyptian guard is.

"Helga" is a prisoner on board a private plane that is in flight heading for Egypt, but "Mike" appears in the passenger cabin, overpowers her Egyptian guard and the Egyptian pilot. 

The story ends with "Helga" being reunited with her grateful father, who has reformed.

Three Westerns followed "Trunk to Cairo", the previously mentioned, 1966, "Gunpoint", 1966's, "The Texican", and, 1967's, "40 Guns to Apache Pass". 

In 1968, Audie Murphy's gambling finally caught up with him and he had also lost $280,000 in an Algerian Oil Deal that went south. Adding to his financial situation was that the Internal Revenue Services was after the actor for unpaid back taxes. Murphy was offered enough money to pay off his back taxes by appearing on television in a series of alcohol and cigarette commercials, but he turned them down. Audie Murphy did not want to badly influence the young audiences that were coming to his Westerns.

Next, came the final motion picture of Audie Murphy's career and, of course, it was also a Western.

A TIME FOR DYING premiered in Dallas, Texas, on September 15, 1969

The motion picture was written and directed by Budd Boetticher. He was the director of all of Randolph Scott's, 1960's "B" Westerns, but had started directing in 1942. However, he started in the film industry in 1939 as a "Horse Wrangler", on director Lewis Milestone's "Of Mice and Men", starring Burgess Meredith, Betty Field, and Lon Chaney, Jr. Boetticher was a crew member on Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy's, 1940, "A Chump at Oxford", and the dance director for the "El Torero" number in the Tyrone Power, Linda Darnell, and Rita Hayward's, 1941, "Blood and Sand".

Audie Murphy was the Producer, but not the star. He has a cameo as once more, "Jesse James".

Victory Jory has a cameo portraying "Judge Roy Bean". His strong voice had just narrated the Gregory Peck and Omar Sharif, 1969, "Mackenna's Gold". 

Richard Flapp portrayed "Cass Bunning". Flapp was basically a television actor, his first on-screen appearance was as a "Minor Character" in the 1964 cavalry movie, "A Distant Trumpet", his next was an "Uncredited Role", in 1966's, "Duel at Diablo". Before this motion picture, Richard Flapp appeared six-times in six different television series. In all, his on-screen credits are twenty-two. The role of "Cass Bunning" was originally to go to Peter Fonda, but that didn't develop.

Anne Randall portrayed "Nellie". Randall did better than Flapp with twenty-nine credits starting with an episode of the television series "The Monkees" in 1967, and ending in 1979 in the forgotten motion picture, "The Day the Earth Got Stoned".

"Cass" is a Texas "Farm Boy" with a talent for shooting and as he travels, he meets "Nellie". She's an "Eastern Gal" who was lured out west by the stories she read and offered a job as a waitress. "Nellie" is now working in a brothel, the false waitress position, and meets "Cass". He helps her escape the brothel and both run into "Judge Roy Bean", who forces them into a marriage. "Cass" now becomes a bounty hunter and meets "Jesse James", who's impressed with his shooting skills. "Jesse" makes an offer for "Cass" to become part of his gang, but the bounty hunter declines and the two-part ways. Next, "Cass" is killed in a shootout with the outlaw, "Billy Pimple", portrayed by Robert Random, and "Nellie" returns to the brothel.

The following is from the New York Times:

BURBANK, Calif., May 28 (AP)—Audie Murphy was booked for investigation of assault with intent to commit murder today in connection with a fight he allegedly had May 18 with a dog trainer.

The police said that the 45‐ year‐old actor, America's most decorated soldier in World War II, had been taken into custody on the basis of a complaint filed by David Gofstein, a Burbank dog trainer.

They said Mr. Murphy and two other men went to Mr. Gofstein's home the night of May 18, several hours after an unidentified friend of Mr. Murphy had argued with the dog trainer, apparently over treatment for the friend's dog.

Mr. Gofstein and Mr. Murphy argued and fought, the police said, and a gun was fired. They said that no one had been struck by the bullet.

Audie Murphy was cleared of all charges.

On, May 28, 1971, a light plane crashed into the side of a mountain killing all six men onboard. The crash site was 12 miles northwest of Roanoke, Virginia. One of those on the plane was Audie Leon Murphy.

On November 17, 1973, at 7400 Merton Milner Blvd, San Antonio, Texas, the Veterans Administration dedicated and opened the "Audie L. Murphy Memorial VA Hospital".

As I opened this article with, it was seven-years after the death of Audie Murphy that the mental condition he suffered from and thousands of other veterans was recognized for what it really was, NOT "Combat Stress", "Shell Shock", "Combat Fatigue", "Battle Fatigue", and "Battle Neurosis".
In 1980, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) added PTSD to the third edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III) nosologic classification scheme (2). Although controversial when first introduced, the PTSD diagnosis has filled an important gap in psychiatric theory and practice. From an historical perspective, the significant change ushered in by the PTSD concept was the stipulation that the etiological agent was outside the individual (i.e., a traumatic event) rather than an inherent individual weakness (i.e., a traumatic neurosis). The key to understanding the scientific basis and clinical expression of PTSD is the concept of "trauma." 


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