Calamity Jane and Sam Bass (1949)

85-86 mins | Western | July 1949

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HISTORY

The working titles of this film were The Story of Sam Bass , The Adventures of Sam Bass and Sam Bass and Calamity Jane . According to a Feb 1949 DV news item, the title was changed from Calamity Jane and Sam Bass to Calamity Jane , then back to Calamity Jane and Sam Bass . Sam Bass (1851--1878) robbed trains and banks in Texas, as well as stagecoaches in Deadwood, SD. He was shot down by Texas Rangers during a robbery. A song, "Ballad of Sam Bass," was written in his honor and, because of its popularity, Bass acquired folk hero status. Other films featuring Bass as a character are RKOs 1946 picture Badmans Territory (see above entry); Columbias 1951 release The Texas Rangers , in which William Bishop portrayed Bass; and Lipperts 1952 film Outlaw Women , in which Leonard Penn played Bass. For biographical information about Calamity Jane, see above entry for Badlands of Dakota . Location shooting on Calamity Jane and Sam Bass took place in Kanab, UT, according to HR . HR also notes that Marc Lawrence replaced Richard Rober in the role of "Harry Dean." Although HR production charts add Virginia Christine to the cast, her appearance in the final film is doubtful. In late Nov 1948, Walter Scharf was announced as the films music scorer, but Milton Schwarzwald is listed as composer in the onscreen ... More Less

The working titles of this film were The Story of Sam Bass , The Adventures of Sam Bass and Sam Bass and Calamity Jane . According to a Feb 1949 DV news item, the title was changed from Calamity Jane and Sam Bass to Calamity Jane , then back to Calamity Jane and Sam Bass . Sam Bass (1851--1878) robbed trains and banks in Texas, as well as stagecoaches in Deadwood, SD. He was shot down by Texas Rangers during a robbery. A song, "Ballad of Sam Bass," was written in his honor and, because of its popularity, Bass acquired folk hero status. Other films featuring Bass as a character are RKOs 1946 picture Badmans Territory (see above entry); Columbias 1951 release The Texas Rangers , in which William Bishop portrayed Bass; and Lipperts 1952 film Outlaw Women , in which Leonard Penn played Bass. For biographical information about Calamity Jane, see above entry for Badlands of Dakota . Location shooting on Calamity Jane and Sam Bass took place in Kanab, UT, according to HR . HR also notes that Marc Lawrence replaced Richard Rober in the role of "Harry Dean." Although HR production charts add Virginia Christine to the cast, her appearance in the final film is doubtful. In late Nov 1948, Walter Scharf was announced as the films music scorer, but Milton Schwarzwald is listed as composer in the onscreen credits. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
11 Jun 1949.
---
Daily Variety
17 Feb 1949.
---
Daily Variety
3 Jun 49
p. 3.
Film Daily
3 Jun 49
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
12 May 48
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Aug 48
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Sep 48
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Oct 48
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Oct 48
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Nov 48
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Nov 48
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Jun 49
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
4 Jun 49
p. 4633.
New York Times
18 Jul 49
p. 14.
Variety
8 Jun 49
p. 18.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Stills
ART DIRECTORS
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus arr and cond
MAKEUP
Makeup
Makeup
Hairstylist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Scr supv
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Calamity Jane
The Adventures of Sam Bass
The Story of Sam Bass
Sam Bass and Calamity Jane
Release Date:
July 1949
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 14 July 1949
New York opening: 16 July 1949
Production Date:
mid October--mid November 1948
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Co., inc.
Copyright Date:
28 June 1949
Copyright Number:
LP515
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
85-86
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
PCA No:
13569
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

As soon as gifted Indiana horseman Sam Bass arrives in Denton, Texas, having wrangled a temporary job as a stagecoach guard, he encounters unfriendly Sheriff Will Egan, who suspects Sam is a gambler. The infamous Calamity Jane and a group of rowdy cowboys then barrel into town, guns blazing in celebration of the upcoming cattle drive. Sam impresses Jane with his ability to calm her horse Thunderbolt, and she later watches him flirt with Will's sister Katherine, the general store proprietor. After the illiterate Sam asks Kathy to read a letter from his sister, she realizes that he is broke and wheedles Will into employing him on their ranch. To kick off the cattle drive, Denton plans a big race, in which riders from miles around will compete against the Denton Mare, the fastest horse in the West. On the day of the race, Jane and Sam see the Mare whinnying in pain as she is being shod. Sam asks Will for fifty dollars to buy a horse, and after Will reluctantly gives him the money, Sam bets on Thunderbolt to win. When the Mare falls lame in the final heat, Sam is able to buy her from her owner with the money he has just won. That night, he explains to Jane that he saw the horse was not lame, but just had been shod incorrectly. Jane kisses Sam, even though she says she knows that he loves Kathy. When Will, who detests gamblers, deduces that Sam wagered the money he borrowed, he orders him to leave that night. Before going, Sam professes his love to Kathy, then joins Joel Collins ... +


As soon as gifted Indiana horseman Sam Bass arrives in Denton, Texas, having wrangled a temporary job as a stagecoach guard, he encounters unfriendly Sheriff Will Egan, who suspects Sam is a gambler. The infamous Calamity Jane and a group of rowdy cowboys then barrel into town, guns blazing in celebration of the upcoming cattle drive. Sam impresses Jane with his ability to calm her horse Thunderbolt, and she later watches him flirt with Will's sister Katherine, the general store proprietor. After the illiterate Sam asks Kathy to read a letter from his sister, she realizes that he is broke and wheedles Will into employing him on their ranch. To kick off the cattle drive, Denton plans a big race, in which riders from miles around will compete against the Denton Mare, the fastest horse in the West. On the day of the race, Jane and Sam see the Mare whinnying in pain as she is being shod. Sam asks Will for fifty dollars to buy a horse, and after Will reluctantly gives him the money, Sam bets on Thunderbolt to win. When the Mare falls lame in the final heat, Sam is able to buy her from her owner with the money he has just won. That night, he explains to Jane that he saw the horse was not lame, but just had been shod incorrectly. Jane kisses Sam, even though she says she knows that he loves Kathy. When Will, who detests gamblers, deduces that Sam wagered the money he borrowed, he orders him to leave that night. Before going, Sam professes his love to Kathy, then joins Joel Collins and some ranchers on the cattle drive. They quickly reach Abilene, where Harry Dean and his partner, J. Wells, are running a fixed horse race. The group gamble all their money on Sam's horse, but after Jane accidentally tips off Dean about the horse's identity, Dean and Wells poison the Mare. Upon discovering they have been tricked, the once non-violent Sam kills Wells. The men and Jane are forced to flee into the hills, where they hatch a plan to rob the stagecoach on which Dean is transporting his stolen winnings. As soon as they take the money, however, they are branded as criminals. After Sam sneaks into Denton to explain himself to Kathy, she encourages him to give himself up, along with Joel and the ranchers. In the jailhouse, Will reveals they will be tried in Abilene, and they realize they cannot get a fair trial there. Jane frees them, and Sam, sure that Kathy has tricked them, takes Jane in his arms. Their outlaw status soon forces the band to rob again. After a spy sent by Will tips the sheriff off about the next robbery, a shootout ensues and everyone in the group except Sam, Joel and Jane is killed. Will's posse then chases the survivors into the hills. After a long standoff, Joel is killed and Will shoots Sam. Will returns to town and greets Kathy, just as Jane appears, leading Thunderbolt with a dying Sam slumped in his saddle. Sam passes into semi-consciousness, recounting the dream he shared with Kathy about owning their own ranch. Although he is delirious, Kathy realizes he is talking about her when he says he has loved her all along, moments before he dies in Jane's arms. +

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.