Topeka (1953)

69 mins | Western | 9 August 1953

Director:

Thomas Carr

Writer:

Milton Raison

Cinematographer:

Ernest Miller

Editor:

Sam Fields

Production Designer:

David Milton

Production Companies:

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

The working title of this film was Captive City . Although the viewed print was black-and-white, copyright records indicate this film was shot in ... More Less

The working title of this film was Captive City . Although the viewed print was black-and-white, copyright records indicate this film was shot in color. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Hollywood Reporter
9 Jun 1953
p. 8.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
19 Sep 53
p. 1998.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Captive City
Release Date:
9 August 1953
Copyright Claimant:
Monogram Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
9 August 1953
Copyright Number:
LP2902
Physical Properties:
Sound
Sound Services, Inc.
Color
Duration(in mins):
69
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
16572
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Jim Levering and his gang of outlaws, which includes his close friend Ray Hammond, Jonas Bailey, Will Peters and Marv Ransom, successfully elude the law after several bank robberies in Iowa and Nebraska. When they near Topeka, Kansas, Jim rides alone into town to check it out. The town appears to be quiet but when he goes into Pop Harrison’s restaurant for a cup of coffee and piece of pie, two toughs, Jake Manning and Cully, demand that Pop’s daughter Marian serve them before Jim. Jim confronts Jake and becomes embroiled in a fistfight, and after Jim emerges victorious, he forces Jake and Cully to leave. Pop warns Jim that he should get out of town for his own safety, as Jake and Cully work for Mack Wilson, the unofficial town boss who runs a protection racket and the local casino. Later at their campsite, Jim plots with his men to force Wilson out slowly and take over his racket. Jonas, Will and Marv go to the casino, but when Jim and Ray arrive at the bar, Manning throws a drink in Jim’s face. A brawl erupts and after Jim’s gang defeat Wilson’s men, they are invited to Pop’s restaurant for a secret meeting of the town council, which is comprised of Pop, banker Reb Corley and Doc Mason. The council proposes that Jim be hired as sheriff to get rid of Wilson and his cohorts. Jim consents after learning how much money Wilson’s protection racket earns, but insists that local businesses hire each member of his gang. After Jim is installed as sheriff with Ray as his deputy, ... +


Jim Levering and his gang of outlaws, which includes his close friend Ray Hammond, Jonas Bailey, Will Peters and Marv Ransom, successfully elude the law after several bank robberies in Iowa and Nebraska. When they near Topeka, Kansas, Jim rides alone into town to check it out. The town appears to be quiet but when he goes into Pop Harrison’s restaurant for a cup of coffee and piece of pie, two toughs, Jake Manning and Cully, demand that Pop’s daughter Marian serve them before Jim. Jim confronts Jake and becomes embroiled in a fistfight, and after Jim emerges victorious, he forces Jake and Cully to leave. Pop warns Jim that he should get out of town for his own safety, as Jake and Cully work for Mack Wilson, the unofficial town boss who runs a protection racket and the local casino. Later at their campsite, Jim plots with his men to force Wilson out slowly and take over his racket. Jonas, Will and Marv go to the casino, but when Jim and Ray arrive at the bar, Manning throws a drink in Jim’s face. A brawl erupts and after Jim’s gang defeat Wilson’s men, they are invited to Pop’s restaurant for a secret meeting of the town council, which is comprised of Pop, banker Reb Corley and Doc Mason. The council proposes that Jim be hired as sheriff to get rid of Wilson and his cohorts. Jim consents after learning how much money Wilson’s protection racket earns, but insists that local businesses hire each member of his gang. After Jim is installed as sheriff with Ray as his deputy, Jim instructs his men to play along with the residents until Wilson is gone, after which they will adopt his policies. Jim then assigns Will to work at the bank, Jonas to work as a dishwasher at Pop’s, Marv to hire on at the casino, and Ray to watch over the Wells Fargo Express office. Jim then introduces himself to Wilson as the new law in town, and rejects Wilson’s offer to cut him in on his business. Wilson orders Jake and Cully to make their collection rounds, but Jim’s well-placed gang routs them from each business. After an unsuccessful attempt at robbing the Wells Fargo deposit during which two of his men are killed, Wilson decides to lay low for a while. Jim and Ray, who have tired of their outlaw lifestyle, soon happily settle into a more peaceful life; however, their partners are disgruntled because they have not taken over the town as Jim promised. After dinner one evening, Marian admits that she knows about Jim’s and Ray’s disreputable backgrounds, but reveals that the council has concluded they have become honest citizens. Jim and Ray are moved by Marian’s words and, when they are later confronted by the rest of their gang, reveal their intentions to stay in Topeka and settle down. Marv, Will and Jonas agree to follow suit, but later Marv, whom Jim has always distrusted, relates his suspicions that Jim’s plan is a ruse to get rid of them and split the money between him and Ray. Marv makes a secret deal with Wilson to regain control of the town. One evening, Wilson cheats a rancher out of $8,000 in a card game. When the rancher protests, Marv attacks and beats him. After the rancher complains to Jim and Ray, Jim confronts Wilson and demands he return the money, despite the fact that Marv vouches for Wilson. Under threat of having his saloon closed, Wilson returns the money and Jim fires Marv for beating up the rancher. Marv follows the rancher out of town, ambushes and kills him and takes the money. While Jim and Ray investigate the murder, Wilson institutes the rest of his plan. After Wilson instructs Jonas to rob Pop and Marian and inform them that Jim is the mastermind, Will and Marv rob the bank and pin the blame on Jim as well. When the Wells Fargo office is robbed and the express agent is killed, an angry mob forms and Wilson offers to lead a posse, claiming that Jake and Cully also robbed him under orders from Jim and Ray. Pop secretly splits off from the posse to warn the sheriffs, who later confront Wilson and force him at gunpoint to lead them to the robbers’ hideout. Jonas, Mack and Will, meanwhile, have become impatient waiting for Wilson and demand their cut of the stolen money. When Jim and Ray force Wilson to call them out, the gang becomes suspicious. Wilson runs when he sees a shotgun barrel emerge from the cabin doorway, causing Jonas to shoot him in the back. When the gang comes out to examine Wilson’s body, Jim and Ray, who are hiding nearby, attempt to arrest them. A gunfight ensues, and after the rest of the gang is wounded or killed, Will surrenders. Later, Jim and Ray assume they must turn in their badges and leave town, but Pop and Marian assure them that they have found a safe haven in Topeka, as Pop has written to the governor on their behalf. Marian then pins the sheriff’s badge on Jim’s shirt-pocket. +

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.