Relentless (1948)

91 mins | Western | 20 February 1948

Director:

George Sherman

Writer:

Winston Miller

Producer:

Eugene B. Rodney

Cinematographer:

Edward Cronjager

Editor:

Gene Havlick

Production Designers:

Stephen Goosson, Walter Holscher

Production Company:

Cavalier Productions
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HISTORY

The working title of this film was Three Were Thoroughbreds . Kenneth Perkins' novel was first published in Blue Book magazine in Jun 1938. Relentless was the initial effort of Cavalier Productions. According to a Columbia publicity item in the file on the film at the AMPAS Library, exteriors for this picture were shot around Tuscon, Arizona. On 7 Jun 1948, Lux Radio Theatre presented a radio broadcast of the story, starring Robert Young and Claire ... More Less

The working title of this film was Three Were Thoroughbreds . Kenneth Perkins' novel was first published in Blue Book magazine in Jun 1938. Relentless was the initial effort of Cavalier Productions. According to a Columbia publicity item in the file on the film at the AMPAS Library, exteriors for this picture were shot around Tuscon, Arizona. On 7 Jun 1948, Lux Radio Theatre presented a radio broadcast of the story, starring Robert Young and Claire Trevor. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
17 Jan 1948.
---
Daily Variety
9 Jan 48
p. 3.
Film Daily
15 Jan 48
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Jan 48
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Mar 48
p. 8.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
17 Jan 48
pp. 4017-18.
New York Times
6 Mar 48
p. 17.
Variety
14 Jan 48
p. 10.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Stills
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost
MUSIC
Mus score
Mus dir
VISUAL EFFECTS
MAKEUP
Hair styles
PRODUCTION MISC
Scr supv
Grip
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Three Were Thoroughbreds by Kenneth Perkins (New York, 1939).
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Three Were Thoroughbreds
Release Date:
20 February 1948
Production Date:
25 Nov 1946--28 Feb 1947
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
21 January 1948
Copyright Number:
LP1426
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
91
Length(in feet):
8,314
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

While celebrating their rich gold strike at the local saloon, prospectors Len Briggs and Bob Pliny meet drifter Nick Buckley, who has come to town seeking shelter for his pregnant mare. The old prospectors offer Nick the use of their shack, but Nick becomes sidetracked when Tex Brandaw suggests that he and his horse occupy an empty stall in the town stable instead. Later that night, Brandaw and his partner, Jim Rupple, murder the two prospectors at their shack and steal their map of the claim. After dividing the map in half, the two split up and agree to meet once they are safely outside of town. The next morning, Luella Purdy, the feisty owner of a traveling general store, befriends Nick and gives him blankets and medicine for his ailing mare. Nick then leaves town, and shortly afterward, his mare gives birth along the trail. A short distance away, Brandaw lays in ambush for Jim. When Brandaw shoots Jim's horse and steals his portion of the map, Jim seizes Nick's mare at gunpoint and gallops after Brandaw. After the sickly mare founders and dies, Nick catches up to Jim. Enraged because Jim has killed his beloved horse, Nick calls on him to draw his gun and then fires and kills him. Brandaw, who has been following Jim, witnesses the shooting and promises to explain to sheriff Jim Moyer that Jeff was killed for horse stealing. Anxious to return to his helpless foal, Nick agrees to let Brandaw deliver Jim's body to town. As soon as Nick leaves, however, Brandaw steals the map and later reports to the sheriff ... +


While celebrating their rich gold strike at the local saloon, prospectors Len Briggs and Bob Pliny meet drifter Nick Buckley, who has come to town seeking shelter for his pregnant mare. The old prospectors offer Nick the use of their shack, but Nick becomes sidetracked when Tex Brandaw suggests that he and his horse occupy an empty stall in the town stable instead. Later that night, Brandaw and his partner, Jim Rupple, murder the two prospectors at their shack and steal their map of the claim. After dividing the map in half, the two split up and agree to meet once they are safely outside of town. The next morning, Luella Purdy, the feisty owner of a traveling general store, befriends Nick and gives him blankets and medicine for his ailing mare. Nick then leaves town, and shortly afterward, his mare gives birth along the trail. A short distance away, Brandaw lays in ambush for Jim. When Brandaw shoots Jim's horse and steals his portion of the map, Jim seizes Nick's mare at gunpoint and gallops after Brandaw. After the sickly mare founders and dies, Nick catches up to Jim. Enraged because Jim has killed his beloved horse, Nick calls on him to draw his gun and then fires and kills him. Brandaw, who has been following Jim, witnesses the shooting and promises to explain to sheriff Jim Moyer that Jeff was killed for horse stealing. Anxious to return to his helpless foal, Nick agrees to let Brandaw deliver Jim's body to town. As soon as Nick leaves, however, Brandaw steals the map and later reports to the sheriff that Nick has committed all three murders. Soon after, Luella finds Nick and his starving foal on the trail. After loading the foal into the back of her wagon, Luella takes him to an old prospector who owns a nursing burro. When the foal eagerly suckles the burro, Nick buys the animal, named Sappho, from the prospector. As Nick and Luella journey on with Sappho and the foal, they confide their dreams to each other and Nick tells her about killing Jim for stealing his mare. When the sheriff gallops from the hills to arrest Nick for the murder of the prospectors at their shack, Luella, knowing that Nick spent that night in town, defends him. After the sheriff refuses to believe Nick's story, Nick overpowers him, chains him to Luella's wagon and vows to bring back Brandaw. While Nick rides out on his quest for justice, Luella cares for the colt, whom she names Breeze. After may fruitless months spent searching for Brandaw, Nick encounters Luella's wagon along the trail and visits Breeze, who has become inseparable from Sappho. Once again, the sheriff and his posse appear and fire at Nick, wounding him. With the posse on his tail, Nick seeks refuge in a ghost town saloon owned by Joe Faringo. Recognizing Nick as a wanted fugitive, Faringo thinks that he must know the location of the gold and shields him from the sheriff. After the sheriff departs, Faringo takes Nick prisoner and physically coerces him into drawing a map to the mine. Leaving Nick in the care of his henchman Jake, Faringo then rides in search of the gold. While in town one day, Luella hears the doctor bragging about treating Nick's wound at Faringo's saloon and hurries to the saloon to help Nick escape. As the two gallop off in Luella's wagon, Faringo, who has discovered that the map is a fake, returns and shoots at them. Finally picking up Brandaw's trail, Nick starts on foot through the desert with Sappho, unaware that he is being followed by Faringo and Jake. In the blazing sun, Nick discovers that Sappho has been shot during their escape from Faringo's saloon. After removing the bullet from her thigh, Nick builds the burro a shelter and is about to leave her with a bucket of water when Breeze, who has broken free from Luella, appears in search of his friend. Meanwhile, the sheriff again overtakes Luella and she agrees to lead him to Nick. Taking the colt with him, Nick treks farther into the desert and finds Brandaw at the mine. Trapped amidst the sun-scorched rocks by Nick, Brandaw spends five hours in the sweltering heat before offering to confess in exchange for a drink of water. As Brandaw begins his confession, a shot rings out, felling him, and Nick turns to see Faringo and Jake. The sheriff and Luella then arrive just as Faringo takes aim at Nick, claiming that Nick shot Brandaw. With his dying breath, Brandaw admits that he killed the prospectors and Jim and names Faringo as his assailant. Exonerated at last, Nick, with Luella's help, loads the wounded Sappho into the wagon. With Breeze trailing behind, they decide to permanently unite their little family. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.