The Man from Bitter Ridge (1955)

80 mins | Western | June 1955

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HISTORY

The working title of this film was Justice Comes to Tomahawk . The Man from Bitter Ridge marked the first film at Universal for producer and former assistant director Howard Pine. The following year, Pine took over co-leadership of Pine-Thomas, the production company founded by his father, William Pine. An Oct 1954 HR news item adds Boyd Morgan and Billy Williams to the cast, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. ... More Less

The working title of this film was Justice Comes to Tomahawk . The Man from Bitter Ridge marked the first film at Universal for producer and former assistant director Howard Pine. The following year, Pine took over co-leadership of Pine-Thomas, the production company founded by his father, William Pine. An Oct 1954 HR news item adds Boyd Morgan and Billy Williams to the cast, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
23 Apr 1955.
---
Daily Variety
19 Apr 55
p. 3.
Film Daily
28 Apr 55
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Sep 1954
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Sep 1954
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Oct 1954
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Oct 1954
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Apr 55
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
23 Apr 55
p. 410.
Variety
20 Apr 55
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
COSTUMES
MUSIC
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit prod mgr
Scr supv
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Justice Comes to Tomahawk by William MacLeod Raine (Boston, 1952).
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Justice Comes to Tomahawk
Release Date:
June 1955
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 22 June 1955
Production Date:
15 September--early October 1954
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Co., inc.
Copyright Date:
15 March 1955
Copyright Number:
LP4552
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Color
Eastman Color
Widescreen/ratio
1.85:1
Duration(in mins):
80
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
17334
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Clem and Linc Jackman and their gang rob a stage of its strongbox, killing a passenger after he recognizes the coiled snake painted on Clem's boot. Later, Jeff Carr, a stagecoach company detective sent to investigate the recent spate of robberies, is held up on the trail by gang member Shep Bascom, who switches his horse with Jeff's. Soon after, a posse from nearby Tomahawk, led by Sheriff Walter Dunham, finds Jeff with the guilty man's horse and assumes he is a gang member. The posse wants to lynch him, but Walter instead arrests him and heads for Tomahawk for a trial. Watching from the hills are sheep ranchers Alec Black and his girl friend, Holly Kenton, who witnessed the horse switch and wants to testify on Jeff's behalf. As Walter is now explaining to Jeff, however, the cattle ranchers in Tomahawk believe that the sheep ranchers, called Crow's Nesters, are responsible for the robberies and murders, and Alec refuses to let Holly enter the town. In reality, it is Ranse Jackman, Clem and Linc's brother and a candidate in the upcoming sheriff's election, who has masterminded all the stage ambushes in order to raise money for his campaign, planning to run the Crow's Nesters out of town by falsely blaming them for the law-breaking. When Jeff arrives in town, Ranse identifies him as a detective and plots his murder, while Walter checks Jeff's alibi and finds it valid. Jeff leaves the jail and is watched on the street by Holly, who has come against Alec's wishes. She soon witnesses Clem leave his brother's lavish campaign rally and pick a fight with an unarmed Jeff. When Clem pulls out ... +


Clem and Linc Jackman and their gang rob a stage of its strongbox, killing a passenger after he recognizes the coiled snake painted on Clem's boot. Later, Jeff Carr, a stagecoach company detective sent to investigate the recent spate of robberies, is held up on the trail by gang member Shep Bascom, who switches his horse with Jeff's. Soon after, a posse from nearby Tomahawk, led by Sheriff Walter Dunham, finds Jeff with the guilty man's horse and assumes he is a gang member. The posse wants to lynch him, but Walter instead arrests him and heads for Tomahawk for a trial. Watching from the hills are sheep ranchers Alec Black and his girl friend, Holly Kenton, who witnessed the horse switch and wants to testify on Jeff's behalf. As Walter is now explaining to Jeff, however, the cattle ranchers in Tomahawk believe that the sheep ranchers, called Crow's Nesters, are responsible for the robberies and murders, and Alec refuses to let Holly enter the town. In reality, it is Ranse Jackman, Clem and Linc's brother and a candidate in the upcoming sheriff's election, who has masterminded all the stage ambushes in order to raise money for his campaign, planning to run the Crow's Nesters out of town by falsely blaming them for the law-breaking. When Jeff arrives in town, Ranse identifies him as a detective and plots his murder, while Walter checks Jeff's alibi and finds it valid. Jeff leaves the jail and is watched on the street by Holly, who has come against Alec's wishes. She soon witnesses Clem leave his brother's lavish campaign rally and pick a fight with an unarmed Jeff. When Clem pulls out a gun, Holly shoots it out of his hand, then walks away from Jeff as he tries to flirt with her, stating that now her conscience is clear. Just then, Alec and a group of Crow's Nesters come searching for Holly, and when he sees Ranse he chastises the candidate for slandering the Crow's Nesters. Linc aims a gun at Alec from a high window, but after Alec calmly shouts at him to put his gun down, Ranse chastises his brother for seeking revenge in public. The next day, Jeff and Walter discuss how to stop Ranse. When Jeff sees that stage agent Norman Roberts is friendly with the Jackmans, he fires Roberts and then leaves town to search for Bascom. In the hills, he finds the Crow's Nesters settlement, and asks Alec if they can work together to trap Ranse. Untrusting, Alec calls Jeff a coward, but gains respect after Jeff courageously hits him. Alec shows Jeff the town the Crow's Nesters are building, and at dinner, Jeff convinces Alec to work with him. Later, in answer to his question about what kind of relationship she has with Alec, a loyal Holly gently discourages Jeff from pursuing her. Alec leads Jeff to Bascom's cabin, unaware that they are being followed by Ranse's men. Inside, Bascom refuses to talk until Clem and Linc shoot at the cabin, convincing Bascom that his gang will kill him to keep him quiet. As Bascom agrees to be an informant, Jeff sneaks out and kills Linc, and then helps Alec bring Bascom back to the Crow's Nesters for the night. Later, Jeff tries to kiss Holly but, just as she admits that she does not want to get involved with a drifter, Alec sees them and advises Jeff to stay away. Meanwhile, Ranse hears that his brother is dead and, publicly blaming Alec, sends Clem and the gang to the Crow's Nesters, where they gather by the sheep pens. In Holly's cabin, Jeff suddenly announces that he plans to settle down in the area and wants Holly to marry him, but before Alec can react, the gang dynamites the pen, stampeding the sheep. With days of work ahead of them, the ranchers toil through the night to round up the herd, while Jeff, who feels responsible for the troubles, again asks Holly to marry him. She kisses him, although she remains confused, and after she walks away, Alec punches Jeff. In the morning, Jeff sets off with Bascom for Tomahawk, where the sheriff's election is under way. On the trail, Clem and his men ambush Jeff, who is rescued by Alec and the Crow's Nesters. Clem informs Ranse that they are coming to town, and Ranse plans to murder Bascom as soon as they appear, under cover of a loud band. When Jeff and Alec arrive, however, they quiet the band, declare the polls closed and reveal Bascom's testimony against the Jackmans. Clem shoots Bascom, starting a gunfight that ends when Alec kills Ranse and Jeff kills Clem in self-defense. After the dust settles, Alec watches Holly run into Jeff's arms, and walks away in silence. +

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

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