The Burning Hills (1956)

93-94 or 97 mins | Western | 1 September 1956

Director:

Stuart Heisler

Writer:

Irving Wallace

Producer:

Richard Whorf

Cinematographer:

Ted McCord

Production Designer:

Charles H. Clarke

Production Company:

Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

Louis L'Amour's novel was serialized in The Saturday Evening Post (26 Nov--24 Dec 1955). According to a Mar 1956 HR news item, portions of the film were shot on location at Kernville, CA, near the Kern River. Although their appearance in the film has not been confirmed, HR news items add Juan Garcia and Wanda Brown to the cast. ... More Less

Louis L'Amour's novel was serialized in The Saturday Evening Post (26 Nov--24 Dec 1955). According to a Mar 1956 HR news item, portions of the film were shot on location at Kernville, CA, near the Kern River. Although their appearance in the film has not been confirmed, HR news items add Juan Garcia and Wanda Brown to the cast. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
4 Aug 1956.
---
Daily Variety
27 Jul 56
p. 3.
Film Daily
27 Jul 56
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
24 May 1955.
---
Hollywood Reporter
13 Feb 1956
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Feb 56
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Mar 1956
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Mar 1956
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Mar 56
p. 51.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Jul 56
p. 3.
Los Angeles Examiner
25 Mar 1956.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
28 Jul 56
p. 2.
New York Times
24 Aug 56
p. 15.
Variety
8 Aug 56
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Warner Bros.--First National Picture
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost des
MUSIC
Orch
SOUND
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
PRODUCTION MISC
Gun instructor
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Burning Hills by Louis L'Amour (New York, 1956).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Release Date:
1 September 1956
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 23 August 1956
Production Date:
mid February--late March 1956
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
1 September 1956
Copyright Number:
LP9287
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound Recording
Color
WarnerColor
Widescreen/ratio
CinemaScope
Duration(in mins):
93-94 or 97
Length(in feet):
8,456
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
17998
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

After rancher Johnny Jordan is shot in the back and killed, his brother and partner Trace becomes determined to bring the guilty party to justice. Evidence found near Johnny's body reveals that several men were present during his murder: one with a limp, one with elaborate spurs, and one who smoked a certain type of cigarette. Trace's friend Miguel identifies the men as toughs who work for Joe Sutton, a powerful rancher who wants no other settlers on the range. Trace rides into the town of Esperanza, and before he climbs the wall into Sutton's ranch, he notices that several of the horses on the property bear his brother's brand. Now fully convinced that Sutton's men committed the crime, Trace draws his gun and confronts the rancher. Sutton dismisses the accusation, but when Trace threatens to take his evidence to the U.S. Cavalry at Fort Stockwell, the rancher pulls out his own gun. Trace shoots Sutton in self-defense and then escapes over the wall, whereupon the wounded Sutton angrily orders his son Jack and foreman, Ben Hindeman, to "finish the job." The young cowboy, who also was shot, rides out of town but soon loses consciousness. He is found by Maria Cristina Colton, a spirited young woman who keeps a small herd of sheep with her younger brother Vicente and her lazy uncle Perico. Maria is drawn to Trace because he reminds her of her father, a Yankee rancher who married a Mexican woman and was killed while trying to stand up to Sutton. Maria hides Trace in an abandoned mine, and while he recovers from his wound, she creates a ... +


After rancher Johnny Jordan is shot in the back and killed, his brother and partner Trace becomes determined to bring the guilty party to justice. Evidence found near Johnny's body reveals that several men were present during his murder: one with a limp, one with elaborate spurs, and one who smoked a certain type of cigarette. Trace's friend Miguel identifies the men as toughs who work for Joe Sutton, a powerful rancher who wants no other settlers on the range. Trace rides into the town of Esperanza, and before he climbs the wall into Sutton's ranch, he notices that several of the horses on the property bear his brother's brand. Now fully convinced that Sutton's men committed the crime, Trace draws his gun and confronts the rancher. Sutton dismisses the accusation, but when Trace threatens to take his evidence to the U.S. Cavalry at Fort Stockwell, the rancher pulls out his own gun. Trace shoots Sutton in self-defense and then escapes over the wall, whereupon the wounded Sutton angrily orders his son Jack and foreman, Ben Hindeman, to "finish the job." The young cowboy, who also was shot, rides out of town but soon loses consciousness. He is found by Maria Cristina Colton, a spirited young woman who keeps a small herd of sheep with her younger brother Vicente and her lazy uncle Perico. Maria is drawn to Trace because he reminds her of her father, a Yankee rancher who married a Mexican woman and was killed while trying to stand up to Sutton. Maria hides Trace in an abandoned mine, and while he recovers from his wound, she creates a false trail to confuse Jacob Lantz, a tracker of mixed Dutch and Ute blood, who is reluctantly working for Sutton. This temporarily slows the scout down, but when Maria realizes that Lantz and the other men in the tracking party are headed toward the mine, she urges Trace to escape and meet her later at an isolated ranch. Furious that Trace has eluded them, Jack shoots Ben and takes control of the gang. Maria brews some coffee for the men, lacing it liberally with jimson weed, and as Jack tries to force Maria to disclose Trace's whereabouts, he and most of the other men fall ill. Fearing for his sister's life, young Vicente reveals Trace's location, and the poisoned coffee buys Maria only a little time to ride ahead and meet Trace. At the ranch, Trace fights with and finally kills one of Sutton's men. Still just one step ahead of their pursuers, Trace and Maria cleverly conceal their tracks, and once, when Lantz has led the Sutton gang too close to them, Trace attracts a group of Indians to the area. The Indians attack Sutton's men, but three of the ruffians escape the battle and continue the chase. Maria and Trace arrive at an unfordable river, and while she takes the horse upstream, Trace hides in the rocks and shoots at his enemies. After killing one of them, Trace fights hand to hand with Jack, finally drowning him in the river. Lantz appears with his gun, but instead of shooting at Trace and Maria, he gives them directions to Fort Stockwell. He was ordered to find the escapees, Lantz explains, not kill them, and says that he looks forward to the Cavalry's visit to Sutton's ranch. +

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

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