Rebel City (1953)

62-63 or 72 mins | Western | 10 May 1953

Director:

Thomas Carr

Writer:

Sid Theil

Cinematographer:

Ernest Miller

Editor:

Sam Fields

Production Designer:

David Milton

Production Companies:

Allied Artists Productions, Inc., Silvermine Productions Co.
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HISTORY

The working title of this film was The Copperheads . Rebel City opens with the following written foreword: "In the year 1864, though Kansas was loyal to the Union, it was over-run with Confederate sympathizers....Because both governments tolerated a certain amount of essential non-military trade, Belfry--a gateway city between the North and the South--became a thriving center for commerce. It also became the headquarters for a secret organization of Northerners, The Copperheads , who were dedicated to the defeat of the Union. The South, they believed, was going to win the war, and they were determined to be on the winning ... More Less

The working title of this film was The Copperheads . Rebel City opens with the following written foreword: "In the year 1864, though Kansas was loyal to the Union, it was over-run with Confederate sympathizers....Because both governments tolerated a certain amount of essential non-military trade, Belfry--a gateway city between the North and the South--became a thriving center for commerce. It also became the headquarters for a secret organization of Northerners, The Copperheads , who were dedicated to the defeat of the Union. The South, they believed, was going to win the war, and they were determined to be on the winning side." More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
30 May 1953.
---
Daily Variety
11 May 53
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Nov 1952
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Feb 1953
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
11 May 53
p. 4.
Los Angeles Times
12 May 1953.
---
The Exhibitor
3 Jun 1953
p. 3529.
Variety
6 Feb 1953.
---
Variety
13 May 53
p. 18.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Copperheads
Release Date:
10 May 1953
Production Date:
began late November 1952
Copyright Claimant:
Monogram Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
8 June 1953
Copyright Number:
LP2622
Physical Properties:
Sound
Sound Services, Inc.
Black and White
Sepia
Duration(in mins):
62-63 or 72
Length(in feet):
5,623
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
16381
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1864, gambler Frank Graham arrives in Junction City, Kansas, after having heard that his father Eli has died. When he meets with his father’s former assistant, William, who now works for the barber Sam, William relates that Eli had sold his freight business, including the wagons, for the surprisingly high price of $2,000 in the nearby town of Belfry. Eli was then stabbed in the back after discovering the money was counterfeit, but survived long enough to tell William what happened. Frank is now determined to find out who murdered his father and goes to his former warehouse, which has been appropriated by the Union Army because no one claimed ownership. The foreman, Joe Spencer, tells Frank that he does not know who now has Eli’s wagons, and that Union Army deputy provost marshal Captain Lloyd Ramsey oversees everything from Belfry. Later in Belfry, Frank interrupts a discussion during which Ramsey and Colonel Barnes are complaining about the Copperheads, a rebel organization which supports the Confederate Army. Frank arrives and demands an investigation into his father’s death, and although Ramsey pledges to initiate the paperwork necessary for an investigation, he insists they are too busy to handle it immediately. Frank launches his own investigation and, after checking into a hotel, goes to the Belfry Freight Co. where he questions co-owner Jane Dudley, who is running the business while her brother fights in the Civil War. Jane has no information about Eli and suggests that Frank, who was estranged from his father, is disreputable. At the urging of Ramsey, Jane initially refuses Frank’s request for a job and insults him, but ... +


In 1864, gambler Frank Graham arrives in Junction City, Kansas, after having heard that his father Eli has died. When he meets with his father’s former assistant, William, who now works for the barber Sam, William relates that Eli had sold his freight business, including the wagons, for the surprisingly high price of $2,000 in the nearby town of Belfry. Eli was then stabbed in the back after discovering the money was counterfeit, but survived long enough to tell William what happened. Frank is now determined to find out who murdered his father and goes to his former warehouse, which has been appropriated by the Union Army because no one claimed ownership. The foreman, Joe Spencer, tells Frank that he does not know who now has Eli’s wagons, and that Union Army deputy provost marshal Captain Lloyd Ramsey oversees everything from Belfry. Later in Belfry, Frank interrupts a discussion during which Ramsey and Colonel Barnes are complaining about the Copperheads, a rebel organization which supports the Confederate Army. Frank arrives and demands an investigation into his father’s death, and although Ramsey pledges to initiate the paperwork necessary for an investigation, he insists they are too busy to handle it immediately. Frank launches his own investigation and, after checking into a hotel, goes to the Belfry Freight Co. where he questions co-owner Jane Dudley, who is running the business while her brother fights in the Civil War. Jane has no information about Eli and suggests that Frank, who was estranged from his father, is disreputable. At the urging of Ramsey, Jane initially refuses Frank’s request for a job and insults him, but capitulates and hires Frank as a driver. At the same time, traveling salesman Perry learns of Frank’s presence and forewarns several businessmen in town, including Hardy, who owns the print shop, Temple, who owns the Acme Trading Co., and Spain, a jeweler. Frank asks the businessmen if they recognize the counterfeit money William saved for him, but they all claim not to recognize the bills. When Frank later receives a counterfeit bill in a card game from a player named Greeley, he confronts the gambler, and Greeley hits him on the head with a bottle and flees. Late that night, Frank sees Greeley slip out of town on horseback with another man and he follows them into the hills, but they elude him. Back in town, Frank sneaks into the printing shop but finds no evidence of counterfeiting, and is forced to escape under gunfire when Hardy and his employee Pete come in. Frank is unharmed and also survives an attempted knife attack in his hotel room by an unidentified assailant. The next day, Frank starts to leave town to deliver his first wagonload for Jane when he sees a man he believes is Greeley. Frank is mistaken, however, and the man and three cohorts then appear behind Frank and brutally beat him. When Frank awakens his pockets are empty and the wagon is missing. Despite the fact that another employee returned the wagon to her, Jane reprimands Frank and is going to fire him until she sees that he is bleeding, and he tells her that the attackers stole the counterfeit bills. While on another delivery run, Frank is stopped at a Union Army inspection checkpoint and forced to return to Belfry and face Ramsey and Barnes after Army inspectors find Greeley’s dead body in the wagon. Jane defends Frank by stating that he had left the wagon unattended for a while, thus convincing Barnes to release him into her custody. Late that night, Spain secretly contacts Frank and identifies the Copperheads as the counterfeiters, who planned to use the fake bills to purchase weapons from the North, thereby undermining the North’s economy. Spain admits that he originally engraved the plates but withdrew from the organization because of corruption, and that he now plans to draw up a list of its members for Barnes. Spain is murdered, however, when he returns to his store. The next day, Frank attempts to pick up a load from Temple, but Temple refuses to do business with Frank because he distrusts him. Frank returns with Jane, who convinces Temple to give them his business and accompanies Frank for a delivery and pick-up in Junction City. While they are there, Frank asks Spencer about Greeley, but Spencer maintains he did not know Greeley. After Frank learns from Sam and William that Spencer and Greeley were friends, Frank returns to the warehouse and confronts Spencer after he finds one of his father’s wagons on the premises. Spencer strikes Frank and continues to beat him, until Jane fires a shot into the air. The sound of the shot draws the sheriff, after which Spencer reveals that the wagon belongs to Temple’s company. As Jane and Frank travel back to Belfry with a load of glassware for Temple, they are pursued by three horsemen. When the horsemen fire at the wagon as they near the Union Army checkpoint, the Army inspectors wave the wagon through and fire back, after which the horsemen flee. Frank, suspicious that the pursuers could have attacked them at any time, stops the wagon and discovers that the crates contain Army rifles, rather than glassware. After offloading the contents at a remote cabin, Jane and Frank return to town separately. Frank delivers the apparently filled crates to Spencer and meets with Jane at her warehouse, having asked her to contact Barnes for a meeting. Barnes has sent Ramsey, however, whom Frank accuses of being the secret leader of the Copperheads and using the Union Army as a cover. A few moments later, Frank’s proof arrives in the guise of Temple and his cohorts, who demand that Ramsey find their rifles. When Barnes arrives with some soldiers shortly afterward, Ramsey attempts to take him hostage and force the garrison to surrender. After Barnes orders Ramsey’s arrest, a gunfight erupts between the opposing forces. In the ensuing chaos, Frank slips out and comes in through the front of the warehouse, taking Temple and his men hostage. After the arrests are made, Jane treats Barnes’ gunshot wound, and the colonel thanks Frank for his assistance, and promises to return Eli’s warehouse and wagons to him. Frank and Jane then agree that they see a merger in their future. +

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

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