The Stranger Wore a Gun (1953)

81-82 mins | Western | July 1953

Director:

Andre DeToth

Writer:

Kenneth Gamet

Producer:

Harry Joe Brown

Cinematographer:

Lester White

Production Designer:

George Brooks

Production Company:

Scott-Brown Productions
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HISTORY

The working titles of the film were I Ride Alone and Yankee Gold . Although the film was exhibited in the 3-D format, the print viewed was in standard format. According to information in the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, the script was originally rejected because of its "shocking violence...(and) acts of vicious brutality and gruesomeness." Producer Harry Joe Brown made multiple story eliminations in order to gain PCA script approval. For more information on Quantrill's Raiders, see the entry for the 1940 Republic film Dark Command in AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ... More Less

The working titles of the film were I Ride Alone and Yankee Gold . Although the film was exhibited in the 3-D format, the print viewed was in standard format. According to information in the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, the script was originally rejected because of its "shocking violence...(and) acts of vicious brutality and gruesomeness." Producer Harry Joe Brown made multiple story eliminations in order to gain PCA script approval. For more information on Quantrill's Raiders, see the entry for the 1940 Republic film Dark Command in AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 . More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
1 Aug 1953.
---
Daily Variety
29 Jul 53
p. 5.
Film Daily
30 Jul 53
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Apr 53
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
1 May 53
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Jul 53
p. 4.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
8 Aug 53
p. 1943.
New York Times
30 Jul 53
p. 20.
Variety
5 Aug 53
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
MUSIC
SOUND
Sd eng
PRODUCTION MISC
Asst to the prod
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the short story "Yankee Gold" by John M. Cunningham (publication undetermined).
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
I Ride Alone
Yankee Gold
Release Date:
July 1953
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 30 July 1953
Production Date:
mid April 1953--early May 1953
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
26 August 1953
Copyright Number:
LP2855
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Color
Technicolor
Widescreen/ratio
3-D
Duration(in mins):
81-82
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
16539
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

During the American Civil War, renegade Confederate officer William Clark Quantrill and his raiders unleash a savage attack against the city of Lawrence, Kansas. Jeff Travis, serving as an advance spy for Quantrill, is dismayed to see the city brutally pillaged and its citizens willfully murdered. When Jeff learns Quantrill intends to keep the spoils instead of using them for the Southern cause, he flees, enlisting in the Confederate Army, where he serves out the remaining war years. After the war, Jeff works on a river boat with his longtime girl friend, card sharp Josie Sullivan. On one trip, some men confront Jeff about his past connection with Quantrill, and with the help of a stranger, Jeff escapes. Josie warns Jeff that he is wanted for the Lawrence raid and on her advice, Jeff jumps ship and heads West. Some weeks later, Jeff arrives in Prescott, Arizona as a gang of thieves, headed by sophisticate Jules Mourret, makes an unsuccessful attempt to hold up a Conroy Stage Line coach, run by Jason Conroy and his daughter Shelby. Conroy avoided being robbed by hiding the gold in a different location for each trip, never revealing the hiding place to the driver. Jeff arranges to meet Mourret, whom he recognizes as the stranger who helped him escape the river boat. Impressed by Jeff's work for Quantrill, Mourret offers him a job spying on the Conroys to discover how large amounts of gold are being safely transported. Jeff agrees, assuming the identity of Mark Stone, an insurance detective requested by the Conroys, and informs them he will masquerade as a stage guard to protect the gold. ... +


During the American Civil War, renegade Confederate officer William Clark Quantrill and his raiders unleash a savage attack against the city of Lawrence, Kansas. Jeff Travis, serving as an advance spy for Quantrill, is dismayed to see the city brutally pillaged and its citizens willfully murdered. When Jeff learns Quantrill intends to keep the spoils instead of using them for the Southern cause, he flees, enlisting in the Confederate Army, where he serves out the remaining war years. After the war, Jeff works on a river boat with his longtime girl friend, card sharp Josie Sullivan. On one trip, some men confront Jeff about his past connection with Quantrill, and with the help of a stranger, Jeff escapes. Josie warns Jeff that he is wanted for the Lawrence raid and on her advice, Jeff jumps ship and heads West. Some weeks later, Jeff arrives in Prescott, Arizona as a gang of thieves, headed by sophisticate Jules Mourret, makes an unsuccessful attempt to hold up a Conroy Stage Line coach, run by Jason Conroy and his daughter Shelby. Conroy avoided being robbed by hiding the gold in a different location for each trip, never revealing the hiding place to the driver. Jeff arranges to meet Mourret, whom he recognizes as the stranger who helped him escape the river boat. Impressed by Jeff's work for Quantrill, Mourret offers him a job spying on the Conroys to discover how large amounts of gold are being safely transported. Jeff agrees, assuming the identity of Mark Stone, an insurance detective requested by the Conroys, and informs them he will masquerade as a stage guard to protect the gold. The next day the Conroy stage arrives carrying Josie and Mexican bandit leader Degas, Mourret's rival, who also anticipates stealing the line's gold transports. Shortly afterward, an attempt is made to stop the stage by Degas' and Mourret's gangs, but Jeff gets the stage away safely. When Mourret angrily chastises him later, Jeff explains that he has learned that the next stage will be carrying $25,000 and thus will be a more important robbery. When that stage is attacked and the driver, Shelby's uncle Jake, is tortured and killed in an attempt to find the gold, Jeff guiltily reconsiders his association with Mourret. After Shelby tells Jeff that she and her father are reluctantly closing down the line to prevent more killings, he convinces them to keep the line going a little longer. Jeff then informs Mourret that the next stage gold shipment is to be $100,000 and says the Conroys have assigned him to drive. Mourret reveals that one of his men is missing and he suspects the man is being held by Degas. Jeff goes to Degas' hideout, where he finds Mourret's man, but intending to set a trap for Degas, tells him about the $100,000 transport and offers to kill Mourret for a third of the gold. The next day, Mourret sends one of his henchmen, Dan Kurth, to ride with Jeff on the stage, which is ambushed by both Degas and Mourret. Jeff pushes Kurth off the stage, then disappears as the gangs confront one another and Mourret ends up killing Degas. Jeff returns the gold to the Conroys, then in his hotel room confesses to Josie his distress about Jake's brutal murder and his life as an outlaw. Josie hesitantly admits that to keep Jeff dependent upon her, she lied to him about his being wanted for his association with Quantrill. Moments after Josie departs, Kurth and another Mourret henchman, Bull Slager, break into Jeff's room, demanding to know the location of the gold. After tying up Jeff, Kurth departs to get Mourret, and Jeff convinces Slager he will split the gold with him. When Slager loosens the ropes, Jeff breaks free and escapes. Jeff then runs into Kurth and kills him. Slager reports to Mourret at the saloon, and Mourret rouses the townsmen by revealing Jeff's connection with the infamous Quantrill. Josie tries to enlist the sheriff's help, but only finds his deputy, who refuses to get involved. Meanwhile, Jeff explains his entire past to the Conroys and, warned by Josie, evades Mourret and the vigilante group. Jeff remains missing through the night, and the next day Mourret grows anxious upon discovering the townspeople have lost interest in Jeff's capture. Soon after, Jeff arrives at the saloon to challenge Mourret and Slager. When a fight breaks out between the men, Josie throws a kerosene lamp at Mourret, and the saloon bursts into flames. Jeff shoots Slager and escapes as the burning ceiling collapses on Mourret. Afterward, Shelby asks Jeff to remain in Prescott, but he decides to start a new life with Josie in California. +

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.