Desert Pursuit (1952)

71 mins | Western | 11 May 1952

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HISTORY

The working titles of this film were Starlight and Starlight Canyon . A written onscreen foreword explains that Jefferson Davis organized the American Camel Corps during the Civil War to map the southern route across the deserts of Texas into California. When the railroad came, the corps was disbanded and some of the camels escaped into the desert. According to a HR news item, producer Lindsley Parsons bought the Blue Book Magazine story "Horse Thieves' Hosana" in Jul 1951. Additional HR news items state that the film was shot on location in Death Valley, CA and in the Sierra Mountains. A Nov 1951 item adds Elizabeth Root to the cast, but her appearance in the final film has not been ... More Less

The working titles of this film were Starlight and Starlight Canyon . A written onscreen foreword explains that Jefferson Davis organized the American Camel Corps during the Civil War to map the southern route across the deserts of Texas into California. When the railroad came, the corps was disbanded and some of the camels escaped into the desert. According to a HR news item, producer Lindsley Parsons bought the Blue Book Magazine story "Horse Thieves' Hosana" in Jul 1951. Additional HR news items state that the film was shot on location in Death Valley, CA and in the Sierra Mountains. A Nov 1951 item adds Elizabeth Root to the cast, but her appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
26 Jul 1952.
---
Daily Variety
3 Jul 1952.
---
Hollywood Reporter
30 Jul 51
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Oct 51
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Oct 51
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Oct 51
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Oct 51
p. 16.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Nov 51
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Nov 51
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Jul 1952.
---
Motion Picture Herald
12 Jul 1956.
---
Variety
9 Jul 1952.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Lindsley Parsons Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
FILM EDITOR
Supv film ed
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus dir
SOUND
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Set cont
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the short story "Horse Thieves' Hosana" by Kenneth Perkins in Blue Book Magazine (Dec 1948).
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Starlight
Starlight Canyon
Release Date:
11 May 1952
Production Date:
29 October--mid November 1951
Copyright Claimant:
Monogram Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
21 April 1952
Copyright Number:
LP1659
Physical Properties:
Sound
Sound Services, Inc.
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
71
Length(in feet):
6,404
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
15668
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Outside Death Valley, prospector Leatherface Bates reveals to his partner, Ford Smith, that he recently spotted three Arab men on camels and drunkenly informed them about Ford's recent gold strike. Ford, who gathered the gold solely to woo his girl friend, Betsy Blake, is happy to use this as an excuse to return to his hometown of San Bernardino, California to see her. Before he leaves the camp, however, the prospectors receive a visitor, Mary Smith, a former blackjack dealer who is returning to San Bernardino after being falsely accused of cheating in Carson City. Although Ford is at first reluctant to travel with a woman, he eventually insists that she join him for her own safety. Immediately after they leave camp, the Arabs--Hassan, Ghazili and Kafan--kill Leatherface while searching for the gold. Finding none, they follow Ford and Mary's tracks into the desert, heedless of the fact that they are out of ammunition. That night, Mary impresses Ford with her ability to start a fire and cook appetizing camp food. When Ford mentions his girl friend, Mary hesitantly informs him that she grew up with Betsy and recently attended her wedding. Ford hides his grief and they retire to bed. By morning, the Arabs catch up with them and Kafan offers to sell them his camel. Ford and Mary run, but Ford is soon slowed by his horse, which is overburdened by gold. Ford then walks alongside the horse, which slows them enough to allow the Arabs to continually catch and torment them, although with no bullets, the thieves are not seriously threatening. At a watering hole, Kafan grabs Mary's unloaded pistol, but as they flee, Hassan drops ... +


Outside Death Valley, prospector Leatherface Bates reveals to his partner, Ford Smith, that he recently spotted three Arab men on camels and drunkenly informed them about Ford's recent gold strike. Ford, who gathered the gold solely to woo his girl friend, Betsy Blake, is happy to use this as an excuse to return to his hometown of San Bernardino, California to see her. Before he leaves the camp, however, the prospectors receive a visitor, Mary Smith, a former blackjack dealer who is returning to San Bernardino after being falsely accused of cheating in Carson City. Although Ford is at first reluctant to travel with a woman, he eventually insists that she join him for her own safety. Immediately after they leave camp, the Arabs--Hassan, Ghazili and Kafan--kill Leatherface while searching for the gold. Finding none, they follow Ford and Mary's tracks into the desert, heedless of the fact that they are out of ammunition. That night, Mary impresses Ford with her ability to start a fire and cook appetizing camp food. When Ford mentions his girl friend, Mary hesitantly informs him that she grew up with Betsy and recently attended her wedding. Ford hides his grief and they retire to bed. By morning, the Arabs catch up with them and Kafan offers to sell them his camel. Ford and Mary run, but Ford is soon slowed by his horse, which is overburdened by gold. Ford then walks alongside the horse, which slows them enough to allow the Arabs to continually catch and torment them, although with no bullets, the thieves are not seriously threatening. At a watering hole, Kafan grabs Mary's unloaded pistol, but as they flee, Hassan drops his rifle and Ford takes it. When Ford and Mary stop for the night, they kiss before going to sleep. The next day, Ford is forced to put his horse down. They trudge across the desert for days, hallucinating about water until they finally find an actual water source. There, Ford notices camel tracks, and instructs Mary to continue on with the horse and gold while he diverts the Arabs on a separate path. The plan works, and when the thieves follow Ford into the mountains, he fights them off by throwing rocks and shooting at them. Along the way, however, Ford drops a handful of bullets, which Kafan uses to load his rifle. Ford eventually escapes over the mountain and meets a relieved Mary on the other side. Soon after, they stumble onto an Indian village. Although there is a language barrier, Mary sees the tribe holding a Catholic service and realizes it is Christmas Eve. The mass is interrupted by the Arabs on camels, whom the Indians mistake for the Three Wise Men. The next day, however, the chief brings back a brave who speaks English, and Ford explains his predicament. In exchange for some gold, the Indians send a brave to show Ford and Mary a shortcut to San Bernardino. On the way, the thieves track them down again and a gunfight breaks out. With the brave helping, Ford throws both Kafan and Hassan off the cliff, and Ghazili flees. The brave then leads them to the shortcut, and as Ford and Mary take off down the trail together, he remarks how lucky it is that she will not have to change her name when they marry. +

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

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