Bitter Creek (1954)

74 mins | Western | 21 February 1954

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HISTORY

The opening and closing cast lists vary slightly in order. A modern source adds Stanley Price to the cast. ... More Less

The opening and closing cast lists vary slightly in order. A modern source adds Stanley Price to the cast. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
13 Mar 1954.
---
Daily Variety
11 Feb 1953.
---
Daily Variety
4 Mar 1954
p. 3.
Film Daily
16 Mar 1954
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Oct 1953
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Mar 1954
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
13 Mar 1954
p. 2214.
Variety
17 Mar 1954
p. 22.
DETAILS
Release Date:
21 February 1954
Production Date:
began 20 October 1953
Copyright Claimant:
Allied Artists Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
21 February 1954
Copyright Number:
LP3290
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
74
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
16808
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In the 1870s, Clay Tyndall travels to Bitter Creek, Montana, to investigate the killing of his rancher brother Frank. On the final leg of his journey, he shares a stagecoach with alcoholic Dr. Prentiss and Jerry Bonner and his sister Gail, who has come from St. Louis to marry Bitter Creek’s most prominent rancher, Quentin Allen. The stagecoach driver, A. Z. Platte, informs Clay that Frank was shot in the back and that Allen has taken over his ranch. When the stage arrives in Bitter Creek, Allen and his ranchhands give Gail a boisterous welcome, but are silenced when Clay introduces himself as Frank’s brother and asks to talk with Allen. Allen declines, but his foreman, Vance Morgan, states that Clay can talk with him. A gunfight between Clay and Allen’s gunmen appears imminent, but at Gail's insistence, Allen calls off his men. Clay then picks up Frank’s belongings from the sheriff, who is unable to give him any clues as to the identity of Frank’s killer. As next-of-kin, Clay now owns Frank’s ranch, but the sheriff tells him that Allen is currently using it as a line camp. At night, Clay rides out to the ranch, surprises cook Harley Pruett and two ranchhands, Joe Venango and Oak Mason, then runs them off the ranch. The next day, Clay rides onto Allen’s pasture and finds some of Frank’s cattle, but is chased off by Mason and his men. During the chase, Clay abandons his horse and, when the danger is past, hitches a ride with Gail and Jerry who are passing by in their buggy. They take him back to his ranch where Prentiss and Platte, both old friends ... +


In the 1870s, Clay Tyndall travels to Bitter Creek, Montana, to investigate the killing of his rancher brother Frank. On the final leg of his journey, he shares a stagecoach with alcoholic Dr. Prentiss and Jerry Bonner and his sister Gail, who has come from St. Louis to marry Bitter Creek’s most prominent rancher, Quentin Allen. The stagecoach driver, A. Z. Platte, informs Clay that Frank was shot in the back and that Allen has taken over his ranch. When the stage arrives in Bitter Creek, Allen and his ranchhands give Gail a boisterous welcome, but are silenced when Clay introduces himself as Frank’s brother and asks to talk with Allen. Allen declines, but his foreman, Vance Morgan, states that Clay can talk with him. A gunfight between Clay and Allen’s gunmen appears imminent, but at Gail's insistence, Allen calls off his men. Clay then picks up Frank’s belongings from the sheriff, who is unable to give him any clues as to the identity of Frank’s killer. As next-of-kin, Clay now owns Frank’s ranch, but the sheriff tells him that Allen is currently using it as a line camp. At night, Clay rides out to the ranch, surprises cook Harley Pruett and two ranchhands, Joe Venango and Oak Mason, then runs them off the ranch. The next day, Clay rides onto Allen’s pasture and finds some of Frank’s cattle, but is chased off by Mason and his men. During the chase, Clay abandons his horse and, when the danger is past, hitches a ride with Gail and Jerry who are passing by in their buggy. They take him back to his ranch where Prentiss and Platte, both old friends of Frank who have decided to join up with Clay, are preparing dinner. Clay invites Gail and Jerry to stay for the meal, but as they are about to eat, Allen and two of his men ride up to take them home. Before Gail and Jerry reluctantly leave, Allen offers to pay Clay for Frank’s cattle, but denies any knowledge of how Frank died. The next morning, Gail rides over to apologize for the night before and to seek Clay’s help with a calf stuck under a bridge. After Clay rescues the animal, he and Gail get to know each other and he convinces her that avenging his brother’s death is the right thing for him to do. Unknown to them, Allen is riding by, sees them talking and decides to hire a professional gunman to kill Clay. Later, an ambush is set up in town, but Platte spots the hidden gunman and alerts Clay. The gunman misses Clay, but shoots Platte, then is shot by Morgan, in an apparent effort to deflect suspicion. After Platte dies, Clay goes to Allen’s ranch to look for Morgan, whom he suspects was involved in the killing, and accuses Allen of being responsible for Frank’s death. When Clay is about to ride off, Pruett approaches him to ask if he can work for him as a cook. Clay agrees, but later, when Pruett tells Allen that he no longer wants to work for a man who hires killers, Allen orders Mason to beat up Pruett. Gail witnesses the savage beating and immediately packs and leaves the ranch. Left for dead, Pruett manages to reach Clay’s ranch where Prentiss looks after him and Clay creates a phony grave for him in order to mislead Allen. Clay goes to see Whitey, a saloon owner who used to be romantically involved with Allen. She tells Clay that Mason was probably the one who beat Pruett and helps him set a trap for Mason at his girl friend’s place. After a beating from Clay, Mason tells him that, after Allen had unsuccessfully tried to buy Frank out, Allen had Frank killed, but before Mason can elaborate, Venango shoots him. Clay then shoots Venango and escapes. Although the sheriff helps Clay by drawing Allen’s men away from him, Allen spots Clay outside the saloon and shoots him in the arm. Gail, who is staying in a nearby hotel until she can leave, tells Clay that her wedding to Allen is off, then offers to go anywhere with him. While Morgan and his men are searching for him, Clay surprises Morgan and kills him. At the saloon, Whitey asks Clay not to go after Allen and confesses that she has helped him to escape, as she is still in love with him. Clay returns to his ranch to find Prentiss apparently passed out from drinking and Allen waiting with his gun drawn. However, Prentiss is only faking and distracts Allen by throwing a bottle, whereupon Clay shoots and kills Allen. Later, Clay and Gail decide to remain in Bitter Creek.
+

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

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