Powder River (1953)

77-78 or 80 mins | Western | June 1953

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HISTORY

Stuart N. Lake's book consists of four articles that were originally published in The Saturday Evening Post : "Buffalo Hunter" (25 Oct 1930); "Guns and Gunfighters" (1 Nov 1930); "Tales of the Kansas Cow Towns" (8 Nov 1930); and "The Frontier Marshal" (15 Nov 1930). Although Lake's book is about Wyatt Earp and his contemporaries, the characters were changed for Powder River , and only certain incidents from the original were used.
       The picture opens with voice-over narration by Rory Calhoun, as his character "Chino Bull," describing how he left his job as a marshal and went west to mine gold. According to studio publicity, Doodles Weaver had a featured role in the film, but he does not appear in the released picture. HR news items include the following actors in the cast, although their appearance in the finished film has not been confirmed: Stanley Blystone, Robert Stephenson, Max Wagner, David Shutta, Jeffrey Sayre, Paul Palmer and Paul Kruger. HR news items and studio publicity note that the picture was partially shot on location at Glacier National Park, MT. Although the onscreen credits list two songs, "Just Let Me Love You" and "Love Me, Love Me, Love Me," they were not heard in the viewed print, nor were they included in the film's dialogue cutting continuity, deposited in the copyright records.
       Lake's book was used as the basis for three earlier films: Fox Films' 1934 production Frontier Marshal , directed by Lew Seiler and starring George O'Brien, Irene Bentley and Alan Edwards; the 1938 Twentieth Century-Fox picture Frontier Marshal , directed by Allan Dwan and starring Randolph ... More Less

Stuart N. Lake's book consists of four articles that were originally published in The Saturday Evening Post : "Buffalo Hunter" (25 Oct 1930); "Guns and Gunfighters" (1 Nov 1930); "Tales of the Kansas Cow Towns" (8 Nov 1930); and "The Frontier Marshal" (15 Nov 1930). Although Lake's book is about Wyatt Earp and his contemporaries, the characters were changed for Powder River , and only certain incidents from the original were used.
       The picture opens with voice-over narration by Rory Calhoun, as his character "Chino Bull," describing how he left his job as a marshal and went west to mine gold. According to studio publicity, Doodles Weaver had a featured role in the film, but he does not appear in the released picture. HR news items include the following actors in the cast, although their appearance in the finished film has not been confirmed: Stanley Blystone, Robert Stephenson, Max Wagner, David Shutta, Jeffrey Sayre, Paul Palmer and Paul Kruger. HR news items and studio publicity note that the picture was partially shot on location at Glacier National Park, MT. Although the onscreen credits list two songs, "Just Let Me Love You" and "Love Me, Love Me, Love Me," they were not heard in the viewed print, nor were they included in the film's dialogue cutting continuity, deposited in the copyright records.
       Lake's book was used as the basis for three earlier films: Fox Films' 1934 production Frontier Marshal , directed by Lew Seiler and starring George O'Brien, Irene Bentley and Alan Edwards; the 1938 Twentieth Century-Fox picture Frontier Marshal , directed by Allan Dwan and starring Randolph Scott, Nancy Kelly and Cesar Romero (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ); and the 1946 Twentieth Century-Fox film My Darling Clementine , directed by John Ford and starring Henry Fonda, Linda Darnell and Victor Mature (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50 ). More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
23 May 1953.
---
Daily Variety
13 May 53
p. 3.
Film Daily
29 May 53
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Jun 52
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Jun 52
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Jun 52
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Jun 52
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Jul 52
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Jul 52
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Jul 52
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Jul 52
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Aug 52
p. 7, 10.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Aug 52
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Aug 52
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Dec 52
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
13 May 53
p. 3.
Los Angeles Daily News
16 Jul 1953.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
16 May 53
p. 1838.
New York Times
4 Jul 53
p. 7.
Variety
13 May 53
p. 18.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
From a story by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Ward dir
Cost des
MUSIC
Mus dir
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
DANCE
Choreog
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Key grip
Corinne Calvet's croupier instructor
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the book Wyatt Earp, Frontier Marshal by Stuart N. Lake (Boston, 1931).
SONGS
"Just Let Me Love You" and "Love Me, Love Me, Love Me," music and lyrics by Lionel Newman and Eliot Daniel.
DETAILS
Release Date:
June 1953
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 17 June 1953
Production Date:
24 June--5 August 1952
addl seq began 5 December 1952
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
13 May 1953
Copyright Number:
LP2679
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
77-78 or 80
Length(in feet):
7,193
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
16060
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1875, Chino Bull, a former marshal renonwed for his speed with a gun, tires of bloodshed and moves to the untamed Powder River country to mine gold with his longtime pal, Johnny Slater. One day, outlaws Loney Logan and Will Horn attempt to force Chino to trade his fresh horses for their exhausted ones, but Johnny gets the drop on them and orders them to move on. Johnny bemoans Chino's refusal to carry a gun, but Chino insists that he has left killing behind and goes into town to pick up supplies. In Powder River, Chino meets Loney's slick brother Harvey, who is a dealer at the Bella Union Station saloon, which is owned by the curvaceous Frenchie Dumont. Harvey's taunting of Chino is interrupted when drunken townsman Sam Harris shoots up the saloon, killing the town marshal in the process. Mayor Lowery asks the bystanders for help, and without using a gun, Chino sneaks into the saloon and knocks Sam unconscious. Lowery offers Chino the job of marshal, but Chino refuses and returns to his camp. There, he finds that Johnny has been shot to death and their cache of gold stolen. Believing that Loney is responsible, Chino returns to town and accepts the marshal job, and later, his suspicions that Loney is the culprit are heightened when Harvey suddenly has enough money to open his own saloon. Chino introduces himself to Frenchie and warns her that he will not tolerate any crooked gambling, and she subtly threatens him by telling him that her boyfriend, gunslinger Mitch Hardin, watches over her operation. One night, Chino observes Frenchie using loaded dice ... +


In 1875, Chino Bull, a former marshal renonwed for his speed with a gun, tires of bloodshed and moves to the untamed Powder River country to mine gold with his longtime pal, Johnny Slater. One day, outlaws Loney Logan and Will Horn attempt to force Chino to trade his fresh horses for their exhausted ones, but Johnny gets the drop on them and orders them to move on. Johnny bemoans Chino's refusal to carry a gun, but Chino insists that he has left killing behind and goes into town to pick up supplies. In Powder River, Chino meets Loney's slick brother Harvey, who is a dealer at the Bella Union Station saloon, which is owned by the curvaceous Frenchie Dumont. Harvey's taunting of Chino is interrupted when drunken townsman Sam Harris shoots up the saloon, killing the town marshal in the process. Mayor Lowery asks the bystanders for help, and without using a gun, Chino sneaks into the saloon and knocks Sam unconscious. Lowery offers Chino the job of marshal, but Chino refuses and returns to his camp. There, he finds that Johnny has been shot to death and their cache of gold stolen. Believing that Loney is responsible, Chino returns to town and accepts the marshal job, and later, his suspicions that Loney is the culprit are heightened when Harvey suddenly has enough money to open his own saloon. Chino introduces himself to Frenchie and warns her that he will not tolerate any crooked gambling, and she subtly threatens him by telling him that her boyfriend, gunslinger Mitch Hardin, watches over her operation. One night, Chino observes Frenchie using loaded dice and arrests her, although she is able to alert Mitch to the situation by yelling at him through a window. Mitch then storms into Harvey's saloon to confront Chino and is angered to see that Chino is not wearing guns. Harvey offers to arm the marshal, but before the combatants can draw, Mitch is overcome by a headache. The gambler cheated by Frenchie attempts to shoot Mitch, but Chino disarms him. Grateful to Chino for saving his life, Mitch forgets his grudge against him, and as the two men converse, they become friends. Chino releases Frenchie, and later, greets the stagecoach as a pretty Easterner named Debbie Allen disembarks. Chino is immediately drawn to Debbie, who asks him for the whereabouts of Dr. Mitch Hardin. Chino escorts her to Mitch's hotel, where she is surprised by Mitch's cool reception. Debbie, who was once Mitch's fiancée, has come to take him back to Connecticut, but he refuses to go and states that he gave up practicing medicine after the tumor in his brain caused him to black out during an operation. Although Debbie is taken aback by Mitch's rudeness, she presses him to return with her until suddenly Frenchie enters Mitch's room and Debbie deduces their relationship. Debbie books a ticket on the next morning's stagecoach, then goes for a ride in the countryside with the infatuated Chino. When he returns to town, Chino is consulted by mine owner Purdy and the mayor, who wants to ship $300,000 in gold. Hoping both to trap Loney and prevent Debbie from leaving, Chino arranges for a fake shipment to be followed by the real shipment on the stagecoach, which will therefore not be able to carry passengers. Knowing that Harvey will pass the information onto Loney, Chino makes sure that he hears about the gold shipment, while Frenchie, jealous of Debbie, taunts Mitch about Chino's interest in her. Infuriated, Mitch gets drunk and refuses to listen to Chino's insistence that his life is worth saving. The next morning, Mitch, enraged that Chino has arranged for Debbie to stay in town, joins him on the stage carrying the gold in order to kill him. Chino understands that what Mitch actually wants is to be shot himself, and proves to the gunslinger that he cannot shoot Chino. Soon after, while the stage is on a ferry crossing the river, Loney's men attack, although through their combined efforts, Chino and Mitch are able to save the gold. When they return to town, however, the citizens are outraged that popular Pike Kendrick, one of the coach's guards, was killed by the outlaws. Mitch, suffering from a headache, goes to his room, where Debbie pleads with him to have faith in himself. Debbie praises Chino's friendship, but when Mitch shows her the gold he stole from Chino's camp after killing Johnny, who drew on him first, Debbie agrees that he should leave town. Meanwhile, Chino, knowing that Harvey's men will summon Loney, arrests Harvey, despite his protests that he cannot be jailed for something his brother did. Chino then meets Debbie, who informs him that both she and Mitch will be leaving town, albeit separately. While they are talking, two of Loney's men, attempting to kill Chino, shoot and seriously wound Debbie. Chino sends for Mitch, who examines Debbie and states that the bullet is only an inch from her heart. Although he protests that he is unfit, Mitch operates on Debbie and is amazed that he is able to save her. The next day, as Debbie convalesces, an upbeat Mitch states that he wants to return home with her and find a doctor who can treat his brain tumor. Debbie gently tells him that with his restored self-confidence, he no longer needs her, and he realizes that she is in love with Chino. As Mitch then readies his horse to leave, Loney and his men arrive, and Mitch joins Chino in a gun battle with the gang. Chino and Mitch triumph, and after Chino tosses his marshal's badge on Loney's body, he helps Mitch carry his saddlebags, which had been shot up during the fight. When Chino sees gold dust spill from the saddlebags, he opens them and recognizes his gold. Begging Chino to listen, Mitch explains that he did not intend to kill Johnny, but Chino insists on a gunfight. Mitch outdraws Chino and shoots his gun out of his hand, but then collapses from a headache and dies in Chino's arms. Later, Debbie and Chino bid Frenchie farewell as she boards a departing stagecoach and promise to put flowers on Mitch's grave for her. +

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

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