The Texas Rangers (1951)

83 mins | Western | June 1951

Director:

Phil Karlson

Producer:

Bernard Small

Cinematographer:

Ellis W. Carter

Editor:

Al Clark

Production Designer:

Harold MacArthur

Production Company:

Columbia Pictures Corp.
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HISTORY

Portions of the film were shot on location in Sonoma County, CA. For biographical information on the life of Sam Bass (1851--1878) please see the entry for Universal's 1946 film, Calamity Jane and Sam Bass in the AFI Catalalog of Feature Films, 1941-50 . Other films in which Bass's character was featured are RKO's 1946 Badman's Territory and Lippert's 1952 Outlaw Women (see above). Butch Cassidy (Robert LeRoy Parker, 1867--1908?) and the Sundance Kid (Harry Longbaugh, 1861--1908?) formed the notorious gang, The Wild Bunch in the late 1890s and robbed banks and trains. Their characters appeared in RKO's 1948 film, Return of the Bad Men and Sundance's character made a brief appearance a year earlier in Warner Bros. Cheyenne . In 1969, Twentieth Century-Fox released Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid , directed by George Roy Hill and starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford in the title ... More Less

Portions of the film were shot on location in Sonoma County, CA. For biographical information on the life of Sam Bass (1851--1878) please see the entry for Universal's 1946 film, Calamity Jane and Sam Bass in the AFI Catalalog of Feature Films, 1941-50 . Other films in which Bass's character was featured are RKO's 1946 Badman's Territory and Lippert's 1952 Outlaw Women (see above). Butch Cassidy (Robert LeRoy Parker, 1867--1908?) and the Sundance Kid (Harry Longbaugh, 1861--1908?) formed the notorious gang, The Wild Bunch in the late 1890s and robbed banks and trains. Their characters appeared in RKO's 1948 film, Return of the Bad Men and Sundance's character made a brief appearance a year earlier in Warner Bros. Cheyenne . In 1969, Twentieth Century-Fox released Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid , directed by George Roy Hill and starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford in the title roles. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
2 Jun 1951.
---
Daily Variety
1 Jun 51
p. 5.
Film Daily
4 Jun 51
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Aug 50
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Oct 50
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Jun 51
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
9 Jun 51
p. 878.
New York Times
14 Jul 51
p. 7.
Variety
6 Jun 51
p. 18.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
An Edward Small Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
SOUND
Sd eng
DETAILS
Release Date:
June 1951
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 13 July 1951
Production Date:
18 August--2 September 1950
addl seq began mid October 1950
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
23 May 1951
Copyright Number:
LP1222
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Color
SuperCinecolor
Duration(in mins):
83
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
14854
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1874 in Texas, after the Union Army of Occupation departs, leaving the state open to attack from a variety of fugitive criminals, the state recalls the Texas Rangers, demobilized since the beginning of the Civil War, into service. Led by Maj. John D. Jones, the Rangers bring order back to the entire state within two years. Notorious train bandit Sam Bass organizes the remaining outlaws at his hideout to resist Jones and the Rangers and names the group the Longriders Association. When the Longriders initially prove successful against the Rangers, the Governor grows nervous and threatens to dissolve the Rangers if the outlaws are not stopped. Meanwhile, Longrider Johnny Carver, known as the fastest gun in Texas, and his friend, Buff Smith, are arrested and placed in the state penitentiary. Johnny is summoned by the warden and introduced to Maj. Jones, whom Johnny recognizes as a former fellow officer from the war. When Jones inquires why Johnny turned to crime, he explains that the war destroyed his family and home, leaving him nothing. Jones offers Johnny a full pardon if he will work for the Rangers, reporting the Longriders' identities and plans. When Johnny asks to add Buff to the deal, Jones agrees. At Ranger headquarters in Waco, Jones details Johnny and Buff's participation to the men, upsetting Helen Fenton, publisher of the Waco Star whose father was murdered by The Sundance Kid, a Longrider. Johnny discovers his younger brother Danny is a Ranger and has changed his last name to Bonner to avoid association with him, but Johnny agrees to say nothing about their ... +


In 1874 in Texas, after the Union Army of Occupation departs, leaving the state open to attack from a variety of fugitive criminals, the state recalls the Texas Rangers, demobilized since the beginning of the Civil War, into service. Led by Maj. John D. Jones, the Rangers bring order back to the entire state within two years. Notorious train bandit Sam Bass organizes the remaining outlaws at his hideout to resist Jones and the Rangers and names the group the Longriders Association. When the Longriders initially prove successful against the Rangers, the Governor grows nervous and threatens to dissolve the Rangers if the outlaws are not stopped. Meanwhile, Longrider Johnny Carver, known as the fastest gun in Texas, and his friend, Buff Smith, are arrested and placed in the state penitentiary. Johnny is summoned by the warden and introduced to Maj. Jones, whom Johnny recognizes as a former fellow officer from the war. When Jones inquires why Johnny turned to crime, he explains that the war destroyed his family and home, leaving him nothing. Jones offers Johnny a full pardon if he will work for the Rangers, reporting the Longriders' identities and plans. When Johnny asks to add Buff to the deal, Jones agrees. At Ranger headquarters in Waco, Jones details Johnny and Buff's participation to the men, upsetting Helen Fenton, publisher of the Waco Star whose father was murdered by The Sundance Kid, a Longrider. Johnny discovers his younger brother Danny is a Ranger and has changed his last name to Bonner to avoid association with him, but Johnny agrees to say nothing about their relationship. Johnny and Buff return to Bass, who plans a bank holdup, and sends the duo north to tell the rest of the Longriders. Johnny, angry over Sundance's treachery in an earlier robbery, waits for an opportunity to exact revenge upon him, ignoring Jones's order to locate Bass's headquarters. When Danny joins Johnny and Buff on the trail, Johnny grows angry, believing Jones does not trust him. Sundance ambushes the group and is killed by Johnny, who then reveals that he intends to quit the Rangers, having only wanted revenge on Sundance. Buff and Danny are stunned and, disarming Johnny, place him under arrest. Upon hearing of Sundance's murder, Bass sends out a small group after Johnny. In the ensuing attack, Danny is shot while returning Johnny's gun, and his death prompts Johnny to commit himself completely to the Rangers. Buff takes Danny's body back to Waco, while Johnny continues following the Longriders. When the Rangers are ordered back to Austin, Buff goes in search of Johnny with the news. In the town of Belton, Bass and the gang wait at the bank as the Wells Fargo stage comes in. Johnny informs the sheriff of Bass's presence before taking two bags of money and fleeing. When Jones discovers Johnny's involvement in the robbery, he worries that the publicity will ruin the Rangers. Buff finds Johnny, who explains that he took the money to prevent Bass from stealing it. Buff then reveals that the Rangers are in Austin to guard a gold shipment worth a million dollars. Johnny plans to use the gold to lure Bass and the gang to Austin and to that end, meets Bass in Waco, where he gives him just enough information about the gold to prove his loyalty. Bass decides to intercept the train while the gold is being unloaded but has Johnny followed when he meets with Buff to pass on the plan. Later, Buff is dragged in and beaten up in front of Johnny, but he insists he is Buff's adversary and even when Buff is killed, does not crack. Before leaving town, Johnny manages to convince Helen to get word to Jones and the Rangers about the robbery scheme. Bass modifies his plan to jump the train with three men and meet the rest of the Longriders at a prearranged spot. Anxious about the change, Johnny goes along and, fighting off Bass and two accomplices, races the train by the meeting spot, which provokes the gang to chase the train directly to the waiting Rangers, where they are arrested. For his actions and dedication to the Rangers, Johnny earns a full pardon and Helen's esteem. +

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.