Raiders of Old California (1957)

72 mins | Western | 1 November 1957

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HISTORY

The working titles of this film were The Gun and the Gavel , Six Guns and a Gavel and The Violent Land . Although HR production charts indicate that the film, which was shot in Kanab, UT, was scheduled to be shot in color, it was released in black and white. The film was shot immediately after The Badge of Marshall Brennan (see above) and most of the actors and technicians worked on both films. While the screen credits state that the film was copyrighted by Gavel Inc., no copyright registration for the film has been located. According to a Jul 1957 HR news item, Republic bought a partnership in the film as well as distributing ... More Less

The working titles of this film were The Gun and the Gavel , Six Guns and a Gavel and The Violent Land . Although HR production charts indicate that the film, which was shot in Kanab, UT, was scheduled to be shot in color, it was released in black and white. The film was shot immediately after The Badge of Marshall Brennan (see above) and most of the actors and technicians worked on both films. While the screen credits state that the film was copyrighted by Gavel Inc., no copyright registration for the film has been located. According to a Jul 1957 HR news item, Republic bought a partnership in the film as well as distributing it. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
7 Dec 1957.
---
Film Daily
18 Dec 57
p. 6.
Harrison's Reports
7 Dec 57
p. 194.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jun 56
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Jul 56
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Jul 1957.
---
Hollywood Reporter
27 Jul 1957.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
30 Nov 57
p. 626.
The Exhibitor
11 Dec 57
p. 4413.
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Six Guns and a Gavel
The Gun and the Gavel
The Violent Land
Release Date:
1 November 1957
Premiere Information:
San Francisco opening: 17 October 1957
Production Date:
late June--late July 1956
Physical Properties:
Sound
Glen Glenn Sound
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
72
Length(in feet):
6,532
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
18556
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1847, toward the end of the war with Mexico, United States soldiers led by Angus Clyde McKane attack the hacienda owned by Mexican captain Don Miguel Sebastian. After McKane and his soldiers overtake Sebastian’s forces, Pardee, one of McKane’s henchmen, lowers the Mexican flag that flies over the hacienda. A courier then brings word that Mexican general Santa Anna has withdrawn his forces, signaling an end to the war. Soon after, Sebastian disappears and is assumed dead. With Sebastian gone, McKane and his men take control of his vast estate, which stretches from West Pecos to the Rio Grande and from Chihuahua to Santa Fe. Three years later, the Mexicans who once farmed Sebastian’s land have been uprooted by McKane and his men, who have renamed the area “McKaneville.” One day, Scott Johnson, one of McKane’s men who is sympathetic to the plight of the Mexicans, stops Pardee from killing a defenseless Mexican and is banished from the gang. Soon after, Judge Ward and U.S. Marshal Faron Young arrive in town, sent by the U.S. government to investigate McKane’s rights to the land. Pardee defends his boss, saying that McKane bought the title to the land from Sebastian and paid the farmers for their property. Later, however, Diego, one of the uprooted farmers, tells the judge that McKane tricked Sebastian, who was a drunkard, into selling the deed to him. To prove that he rightfully owns title to the land, McKane sends Pardee to ask Scott, who has settled down and married Julie, and had witnessed the original signing of the deed, to corroborate his story. When ... +


In 1847, toward the end of the war with Mexico, United States soldiers led by Angus Clyde McKane attack the hacienda owned by Mexican captain Don Miguel Sebastian. After McKane and his soldiers overtake Sebastian’s forces, Pardee, one of McKane’s henchmen, lowers the Mexican flag that flies over the hacienda. A courier then brings word that Mexican general Santa Anna has withdrawn his forces, signaling an end to the war. Soon after, Sebastian disappears and is assumed dead. With Sebastian gone, McKane and his men take control of his vast estate, which stretches from West Pecos to the Rio Grande and from Chihuahua to Santa Fe. Three years later, the Mexicans who once farmed Sebastian’s land have been uprooted by McKane and his men, who have renamed the area “McKaneville.” One day, Scott Johnson, one of McKane’s men who is sympathetic to the plight of the Mexicans, stops Pardee from killing a defenseless Mexican and is banished from the gang. Soon after, Judge Ward and U.S. Marshal Faron Young arrive in town, sent by the U.S. government to investigate McKane’s rights to the land. Pardee defends his boss, saying that McKane bought the title to the land from Sebastian and paid the farmers for their property. Later, however, Diego, one of the uprooted farmers, tells the judge that McKane tricked Sebastian, who was a drunkard, into selling the deed to him. To prove that he rightfully owns title to the land, McKane sends Pardee to ask Scott, who has settled down and married Julie, and had witnessed the original signing of the deed, to corroborate his story. When Pardee threatens to harm Julie, Scott agrees on the condition that McKane give the land back to the people. Later, at his ranch, as Scott is talking to the judge and the marshal, McKane and several of his men appear. In the ensuing gun battle, Scott is shot and, believing that he is about to die, reveals that Sebastian is alive and was recently seen by Diego. The doctor later reassures Scott that he will recover from his wounds. Having overheard Scott’s words, Pardee finds Diego and promises him that he will be given title to his land in exchange for revealing Sebastian’s location. When Diego refuses, Pardee coerces him into talking, then kills him. Faron then goes to comfort Diego’s bereaved wife, who tells him that Sebastian is in Los Cresta, Mexico. As Faron rides toward Los Cresta, he is spotted by Pardee and two henchmen, who are about to shoot the marshal when they see some Indians on his trail and decide to let them finish the job. When the Indians attack, however, Faron fends them off and continues on. While Pardee and his henchmen ride toward Los Cresta, one of their horses goes lame so Pardee tells the men to double up while he rides ahead. Soon after, Faron catches up to the henchmen, and in the ensuing gunfight, kills one and wounds the other. In Los Cresta, Pardee locates Sebastian, who has become the town padre, and is about to shoot him when Faron arrives and kills Pardee. Upon learning that Faron has found Sebastian and is bringing him back to testify in court, McKane sends four of his thugs to ambush them. Although Faron manages to kill two of them, the other two escape and report back to McKane, who then plans to disrupt the hearings by stampeding his cattle into town. At the trial, Sebastian testifies that after losing the war, he wanted to make amends for his life. He then reveals that McKane threatened to execute him as a traitor unless Sebastian agreed to sign over the land, which was granted to his family by King Phillip of Spain. Sebastian continues by testifying that when Scott objected that McKane was resorting to extortion, McKane threatened to kill him unless he witnessed the signing of the deed. Once McKane assured Sebastian that those living on the land would be treated fairly, Sebastian relates that he signed the document and rode off with a courier. Sent by McKane to eliminate Sebastian, Pardee shot the courier, then fired at Sebastian, knocking him off his horse and over a cliff, leaving him for dead. When Sebastian finishes his story, Ward dismisses the jury, explaining that although the transfer of the title was legal, the rules that prevent a U.S. soldier from bargaining with the enemy renders it void, and thus the title still belongs to Sebastian. The judge then remands McKane to Faron’s custody to stand under military trial for high treason. As they leave the courtroom, McKane gives the signal to stampede the cattle and is trampled in the street by the herd. With McKane dead, his men disperse and Sebastian deeds his land to all those who made their living from it. +

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.