The Longhorn (1951)

70 mins | Western | 25 November 1951

Director:

Lewis D. Collins

Cinematographer:

Ernest Miller

Production Designer:

David Milton

Production Company:

Monogram Productions, Inc.
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HISTORY

A written prologue following the onscreen credits reads "Of all the Americans who have earned the right to be called 'self-made man,' the cattle rancher of the Great Plains is perhaps one of the most deserving of the title. After defending his precious herds for generations against marauding Indians, rustlers and the weather, the Plains cattleman, in the middle of the nineteenth century, found himself confronted by a new enemy, economics. The famed Texas longhorn, hardiest breed of cattle ever known gradually became almost worthless at the beef market. This situation drove hundreds of ranchers out of business; others hung on, powerless and desperate, hoping for a change. A few did something about it. This is the story of a man who did."
       According to an 11 Aug 1950 DV article, a screenplay entitled Longhorn was written by Marty Green and purchased by producer Ron Ormond; however, it has not been determined if this screenplay was related to the 1951 Monogram production. A 19 Jun 1951 HR news item adds Rocky Shahan to the cast, but his appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. Although the viewed print was in black and white, HR and MPH post-production news items and copyright information reveal that the film was processed in sepia tone. Modern sources add Herman Hack and Carl Matthews to the ... More Less

A written prologue following the onscreen credits reads "Of all the Americans who have earned the right to be called 'self-made man,' the cattle rancher of the Great Plains is perhaps one of the most deserving of the title. After defending his precious herds for generations against marauding Indians, rustlers and the weather, the Plains cattleman, in the middle of the nineteenth century, found himself confronted by a new enemy, economics. The famed Texas longhorn, hardiest breed of cattle ever known gradually became almost worthless at the beef market. This situation drove hundreds of ranchers out of business; others hung on, powerless and desperate, hoping for a change. A few did something about it. This is the story of a man who did."
       According to an 11 Aug 1950 DV article, a screenplay entitled Longhorn was written by Marty Green and purchased by producer Ron Ormond; however, it has not been determined if this screenplay was related to the 1951 Monogram production. A 19 Jun 1951 HR news item adds Rocky Shahan to the cast, but his appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. Although the viewed print was in black and white, HR and MPH post-production news items and copyright information reveal that the film was processed in sepia tone. Modern sources add Herman Hack and Carl Matthews to the cast. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
13 Oct 1951.
---
Daily Variety
4 Oct 1951
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Jun 1951
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Jun 1951
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jun 1951
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Sep 1951
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Oct 1951.
---
Los Angeles Times
29 Nov 1951.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
20 Oct 1951
p. 1066.
Variety
11 Aug 1950.
---
Variety
10 Oct 1951.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
Interstate Television Corporation
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Dial dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATOR
Settings by
MUSIC
Mus dir
SOUND
Rec eng
PRODUCTION MISC
Set cont
DETAILS
Release Date:
25 November 1951
Production Date:
14 June--late June 1951
Copyright Claimant:
Monogram Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
20 November 1951
Copyright Number:
LP1298
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
sepia
Duration(in mins):
70
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
15416
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

When longhorn cattle prices plummet in Wyoming, local rancher Jim Kirk cross breeds a rich red beef Hereford with one his hardy Longhorns, which produces a calf he believes will result in a better breed of cattle. Although Herefords are available in Oregon, they have not been raised in Wyoming because they lack the stamina for the difficult terrain. When Jim and his ranchhand Andy ride to town to deposit a cashier’s check from a recent sale, three bandits attempt to rob them, but after Jim guns down one and Andy wounds another, the bandits flee. When they arrive in town, Jim goes to the bank to deposit the money while Andy meets with the two surviving bandits, with whom he is secretly in league. When Andy proposes to the leader, Moresby, that they steal the higher-priced Hereford herd on the way back from Oregon, Moresby agrees to the deal. Andy then offers to join Jim on the difficult Oregon Trail ride and the two leave the next day. Days later, within miles of the Oregon border, Indians attack, stealing their horses and badly wounding Andy. Jim walks miles through the Oregon plains to find medical attention and finally meets Gail, a local rancher’s daughter, who agrees to help. Later at Gail’s house, a doctor predicts a full recovery for Andy and concludes that Jim saved his life. After replying that Andy would have done the same for him, Jim leaves to buy a herd of 1,000 Herefords from a local rancher. Unable to hire local men to help drive the herd to Wyoming, Jim decides to approach criminals at the Star Saloon about employment. However, when Jim enters ... +


When longhorn cattle prices plummet in Wyoming, local rancher Jim Kirk cross breeds a rich red beef Hereford with one his hardy Longhorns, which produces a calf he believes will result in a better breed of cattle. Although Herefords are available in Oregon, they have not been raised in Wyoming because they lack the stamina for the difficult terrain. When Jim and his ranchhand Andy ride to town to deposit a cashier’s check from a recent sale, three bandits attempt to rob them, but after Jim guns down one and Andy wounds another, the bandits flee. When they arrive in town, Jim goes to the bank to deposit the money while Andy meets with the two surviving bandits, with whom he is secretly in league. When Andy proposes to the leader, Moresby, that they steal the higher-priced Hereford herd on the way back from Oregon, Moresby agrees to the deal. Andy then offers to join Jim on the difficult Oregon Trail ride and the two leave the next day. Days later, within miles of the Oregon border, Indians attack, stealing their horses and badly wounding Andy. Jim walks miles through the Oregon plains to find medical attention and finally meets Gail, a local rancher’s daughter, who agrees to help. Later at Gail’s house, a doctor predicts a full recovery for Andy and concludes that Jim saved his life. After replying that Andy would have done the same for him, Jim leaves to buy a herd of 1,000 Herefords from a local rancher. Unable to hire local men to help drive the herd to Wyoming, Jim decides to approach criminals at the Star Saloon about employment. However, when Jim enters the bar, the gang’s leader, Purdy, assumes Jim is a lawman and starts a fight. Jim subdues Purdy and then offers to hire the men. Grateful for the stranger’s trust, they accept the job. Meanwhile, at Gail’s house, Andy has made a full recovery and flirts with Gail, who is intrigued by his advances, but pushes him away. Within days the drive begins; Jim and his cowhands move the huge herd by day and Gail and her father serve as cooks at night. After several weeks, Jim pushes the men harder each day and refuses to slaughter any of the herd for food when their meat supply dwindles. Purdy understands Jim is trying to preserve the herd and keeps his men in line. One evening Jim tries to make conversation with Gail, but Andy interrupts, and jealously insinuates that Gail does not kiss on the first try. With only a week until they reach home, Andy secretly meets with Moresby and his henchman Latimer to go over their plan. At Sweetwater Flats, Andy will take night duty and stampede the cattle into a canyon, while Moresby’s bandits kill the crew from the cliff above. After Andy leaves, Moresby orders Latimer to kill Andy once his job is done. The next morning, Jim fires cowhand Tyler for drinking and when the drunk attempts to shoot Jim, Andy shoots the gun from Tyler’s hand, saving his life. Jim then leaves to scout the trail ahead and promises to meet up with the crew later. That night around the campfire, the cowhands, tired being hungry and working long days, decide to quit. Jim arrives soon, after carrying a young buck over his shoulders, which is quickly prepared and served to the men, who laugh at their own impatience. As Andy prepares to take night duty, Jim calls him aside to offer him the position of ranch foreman and his share of the herd when they return to the ranch. Andy then finds Gail to ask her how she feels about him, but Gail replies that she has feelings for Jim. Visibly disappointed but in agreement about Jim’s generosity and kindness, Andy leaves to meet with Latimer and tells him the deal is off. A fight ensues and the two struggle for Andy’s gun, which inadvertently kills Latimer. When the herd stampedes spontaneously, Andy alerts Jim of the danger, but the cowhands easily calm the cattle. Moresby and his men, suspecting that Andy has double-crossed them, ambush Jim, Andy and the cowhands, and a shootout ensues. Jim kills Moresby, but Andy is severely wounded in the fight and dies, just after confessing to his criminal intentions. Jim blames himself for Andy’s death and, assuming that Gail favored Andy, apologizes for causing her sorrow. Gail replies that she was never in love with Andy, and when she looks adoringly up at him, Jim understands that she loves him, not Andy. Days later, when they finally arrive back at the Wyoming ranch, Jim shows Gail the calf that started the adventure and claims that he represents “our future and probably the future of the state of Wyoming.” +

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.