The Sundowners (1950)

82-83 or 85 mins | Western | February 1950

Writer:

Alan LeMay

Producer:

Alan LeMay

Cinematographer:

Winton Hoch

Editor:

Jack Ogilvie

Production Designer:

John Goodman

Production Company:

LeMay-Templeton Productions
Full page view
HISTORY

The working title of this film was Thunder in the Dust . Alan LeMay's novel was serialized in Collier's (2 Dec 1933--10 Feb 1934). The onscreen credits read: "Written and produced by Alan LeMay." The opening credits also include the following written prologue: "All of this picture was made near Amarillo and Canyon, Texas, on the ranches of these cattlemen: Newton Harrell, John Currie, Hugh Currie, Frank Miller; and in the Palo Duro Canyon with the help of more Texas people than can be named on this screen." A reproduction of each rancher's cattle brand appears under his name. According to an 18 Aug 1949 HR news item, the film was financed by N. Peter Rathvon's Motion Picture Capital Corp. A 30 Jun 1949 HR news item noted that no studio interiors were to be used in the shooting of the picture. The Sundowners marked the directorial debut of George Templeton and the acting debut of John Barrymore, Jr. (1932--2004), the son of actors John Barrymore and Dolores Costello. Barrymore, Jr., who later performed under the name John Drew Barrymore, was the father of actress Drew ... More Less

The working title of this film was Thunder in the Dust . Alan LeMay's novel was serialized in Collier's (2 Dec 1933--10 Feb 1934). The onscreen credits read: "Written and produced by Alan LeMay." The opening credits also include the following written prologue: "All of this picture was made near Amarillo and Canyon, Texas, on the ranches of these cattlemen: Newton Harrell, John Currie, Hugh Currie, Frank Miller; and in the Palo Duro Canyon with the help of more Texas people than can be named on this screen." A reproduction of each rancher's cattle brand appears under his name. According to an 18 Aug 1949 HR news item, the film was financed by N. Peter Rathvon's Motion Picture Capital Corp. A 30 Jun 1949 HR news item noted that no studio interiors were to be used in the shooting of the picture. The Sundowners marked the directorial debut of George Templeton and the acting debut of John Barrymore, Jr. (1932--2004), the son of actors John Barrymore and Dolores Costello. Barrymore, Jr., who later performed under the name John Drew Barrymore, was the father of actress Drew Barrymore. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
14 Jan 1950.
---
Cue
5 May 1950.
---
Daily Variety
11 Jan 50
p. 3, 5
Film Daily
12 Jan 50
p. 6.
Harrison's Reports
14 Jan 40
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Jun 49
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Jul 49
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jul 49
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Aug 49
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jan 50
p. 3, 6
Los Angeles Times
31 Mar 1950.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
14 Jan 50
p. 155.
New York Times
5 May 50
p. 17.
Newsweek
15 May 1950.
---
Variety
11 Jan 50
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
Prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus dir
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Thunder in the Dust by Alan LeMay (New York, 1934).
SONGS
"O'Reily Song," music and lyrics by Al Colombo.
COMPOSER
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Thunder in the Dust
Release Date:
February 1950
Premiere Information:
World premiere in Amarillo, TX: 30 January 1950
Production Date:
18080
Copyright Claimant:
Nuys Theatre Corp.
Copyright Date:
31 December 1949
Copyright Number:
LP2955
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
82-83 or 85
Length(in feet):
7,651
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
PCA No:
14088
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

After brothers Tom and Jeff Cloud find the corpse of their foreman Juan Amordor hidden under a bush on their Texas ranch, they ride into town to report the murder to Sheriff Elmer Gaul. Later, they learn from neighbor Kathleen Boyce, with whom Tom is having an affair, that her husband Earl witnessed the murder and now fears for his life. When a stranger rides onto their land, Tom says he recognizes the man as Kid Wichita, who is actually the Clouds' outlaw brother James. Wichita then offers to help them find Juan's killer, in exchange for food and shelter, and Tom agrees. Later, Tom, Jeff and Wichita visit Earl, who steadfastly refuses to say who killed Juan. That evening, Wichita meets up with his henchman Turkey and the rest of his gang, and together they catch a rival gang, made up of of neighboring ranchers, in the act of rustling Tom's cattle. Wichita steals their saddles, takes them back to the ranch and reports the attempted rustling to Tom. When Tom offers to pay Wichita for his help, he asks instead for half ownership of the ranch. Shortly after Tom returns the saddles to the rustlers, neighbor Sam Beard arrives to warn him that they now plan to kill him. Later, Wichita and his men go to Earl's home and threaten him with harm unless he continues to keep quiet. After they leave, Tom arrives, and Kathleen tells him that Wichita's gang has also been rustling cattle. When Tom notices that a few head of his cattle are missing, Wichita pays him $300 as compensation. As Wichita is ... +


After brothers Tom and Jeff Cloud find the corpse of their foreman Juan Amordor hidden under a bush on their Texas ranch, they ride into town to report the murder to Sheriff Elmer Gaul. Later, they learn from neighbor Kathleen Boyce, with whom Tom is having an affair, that her husband Earl witnessed the murder and now fears for his life. When a stranger rides onto their land, Tom says he recognizes the man as Kid Wichita, who is actually the Clouds' outlaw brother James. Wichita then offers to help them find Juan's killer, in exchange for food and shelter, and Tom agrees. Later, Tom, Jeff and Wichita visit Earl, who steadfastly refuses to say who killed Juan. That evening, Wichita meets up with his henchman Turkey and the rest of his gang, and together they catch a rival gang, made up of of neighboring ranchers, in the act of rustling Tom's cattle. Wichita steals their saddles, takes them back to the ranch and reports the attempted rustling to Tom. When Tom offers to pay Wichita for his help, he asks instead for half ownership of the ranch. Shortly after Tom returns the saddles to the rustlers, neighbor Sam Beard arrives to warn him that they now plan to kill him. Later, Wichita and his men go to Earl's home and threaten him with harm unless he continues to keep quiet. After they leave, Tom arrives, and Kathleen tells him that Wichita's gang has also been rustling cattle. When Tom notices that a few head of his cattle are missing, Wichita pays him $300 as compensation. As Wichita is leaving to meet his gang, Jeff asks to come along, but Tom forbids his younger brother from leaving. Wichita and his gang then ride into town, shoot Elmer and go to the Boyce ranch. There, Wichita helps himself to a drink, while Earl eyes the rifle that Tom leant them for protection. Meanwhile, Tom's neighbor, John Gaul, visits his son Elmer at his office, finds his corpse on the floor and takes up his sheriff's badge. Later, Kathleen informs Tom that Earl has threatened to kill Wichita. That evening, Wichita and his gang return to the Boyce home, and when Earl reaches for Tom's rifle, Wichita grabs it and kills him. As soon as Wichita leaves, Kathleen rushes to tell Tom about the killing, saying that she will report it in the morning. Afraid that suspicion will fall on Tom for Wichita's act, Sam begs him to leave immediately. Soon Turkey arrives to say that while out riding, they were attacked by the rival gang, who kidnapped Jeff. Tom, Sam and Wichita go to the gang's hideout to rescue Jeff, and after they succeed, Wichita rides away, while Tom threatens to come after him. Later, when Wichita returns to the Cloud ranch, Tom says he will turn him over to Gaul for Earl's murder. Wichita then draws his gun, but before he can shoot, Sam grabs his and kills him. +

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

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

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.