Cattle Town (1952)

71 mins | Western | 6 December 1952

Director:

Noel Mason Smith

Producer:

Bryan Foy

Cinematographer:

Ted McCord

Editor:

Thomas Reilly

Production Designer:

Stanley Fleischer

Production Company:

Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

The film begins with a montage of present day Texas, followed by scenes of Texas history. A voice-over narration explains that after annexation, Texas, now a "giant sprawling in the sun," had to sell public lands to Northern investors, some of whom were unprincipled. The film contained an additional song, possibly titled "The Cowboy," but the exact title and composer have not been determined. According to a modern source, stock footage from the following Warner Bros. productions were used in the film: Dodge City (1939), Montana (1950) and The Big Stampede (1932).
       Cattle Town marked the motion picture debut of Merv Griffin (1925--2007). The former radio show host and singer appeared in several films in the early 1950s before turning to television. In addition to hosting the popular daily talk show The Merv Griffin Show from 1962--1968, Griffin created and produced the long-running television game shows Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune and became a successful hotel and resort mogul. ... More Less

The film begins with a montage of present day Texas, followed by scenes of Texas history. A voice-over narration explains that after annexation, Texas, now a "giant sprawling in the sun," had to sell public lands to Northern investors, some of whom were unprincipled. The film contained an additional song, possibly titled "The Cowboy," but the exact title and composer have not been determined. According to a modern source, stock footage from the following Warner Bros. productions were used in the film: Dodge City (1939), Montana (1950) and The Big Stampede (1932).
       Cattle Town marked the motion picture debut of Merv Griffin (1925--2007). The former radio show host and singer appeared in several films in the early 1950s before turning to television. In addition to hosting the popular daily talk show The Merv Griffin Show from 1962--1968, Griffin created and produced the long-running television game shows Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune and became a successful hotel and resort mogul. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
29 Nov 1952.
---
Daily Variety
21 Nov 52
p. 3.
Film Daily
4 Dec 52
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Aug 1952
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Sep 1952
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Sep 1952
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Sep 52
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Sep 52
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Nov 52
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
22 Nov 52
p. 1614.
Variety
26 Nov 52
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
2d asst dir
PRODUCER
Prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost des
SOUND
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
SOURCES
SONGS
"West Virginia," music and lyrics by Ralph Blane
"Underneath a Western Sky," music by Jack Scholl, lyrics by M. K. Jerome and Ted Fiorito
"Dixie," music and lyrics attributed to Daniel Decatur Emmett
+
SONGS
"West Virginia," music and lyrics by Ralph Blane
"Underneath a Western Sky," music by Jack Scholl, lyrics by M. K. Jerome and Ted Fiorito
"Dixie," music and lyrics attributed to Daniel Decatur Emmett
"Marching Through Georgia," music and lyrics by Henry Clay Work
"The Bonnie Blue Flag," music traditional, lyrics by Harry Macarthy.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
6 December 1952
Production Date:
began 6 September 1952
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
17 December 1952
Copyright Number:
LP2172
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
71
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
16169
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In the 1880s, Judd Hastings and his daughter Marian, owners of a large cattle syndicate located in Questa, Texas, ask the governor for help in moving squatters from their land. Because the state of Texas is nearly bankrupt, the governor wants to keep Northern investors like Hastings happy, but with no militia to spare, he sends sharpshooter Mike McGann to investigate and keep the peace. Meanwhile, having been assured that the law is on his side, Hastings orders his men to chase the ranchers off the property, but he wrongfully seizes their cattle for himself. Mike and his sidekick, Shiloh, ride to Questa, and after saving one of the dispossessed ranchers, Ben Curran, from a group of Hastings' thugs, realizes that the governor does not know the full story. Determined to help, but aware that the law is on Hastings' side, Mike convinces the ranchers that they must move on and suggests land to the north. The ranchers resent that their land has been sold out from under them, as some of them have had possession since Spanish land grants were issued, but Mike promises to help them regain their stock. To keep his eye on both sides, Mike asks Shiloh to get himself hired by the syndicate. Then Mike introduces himself to Hastings and says he will help move the squatters if Hastings will return their stock. Hastings refuses and later instructs his men to attack the departing wagon train. Anticipating trouble, Mike buys out the gunsmith, who has also been ordered out by Hastings, and sets up a trap for Hastings' men. As Mike serenades Quela, a daughter of one of the ranchers, the thugs arrive at ... +


In the 1880s, Judd Hastings and his daughter Marian, owners of a large cattle syndicate located in Questa, Texas, ask the governor for help in moving squatters from their land. Because the state of Texas is nearly bankrupt, the governor wants to keep Northern investors like Hastings happy, but with no militia to spare, he sends sharpshooter Mike McGann to investigate and keep the peace. Meanwhile, having been assured that the law is on his side, Hastings orders his men to chase the ranchers off the property, but he wrongfully seizes their cattle for himself. Mike and his sidekick, Shiloh, ride to Questa, and after saving one of the dispossessed ranchers, Ben Curran, from a group of Hastings' thugs, realizes that the governor does not know the full story. Determined to help, but aware that the law is on Hastings' side, Mike convinces the ranchers that they must move on and suggests land to the north. The ranchers resent that their land has been sold out from under them, as some of them have had possession since Spanish land grants were issued, but Mike promises to help them regain their stock. To keep his eye on both sides, Mike asks Shiloh to get himself hired by the syndicate. Then Mike introduces himself to Hastings and says he will help move the squatters if Hastings will return their stock. Hastings refuses and later instructs his men to attack the departing wagon train. Anticipating trouble, Mike buys out the gunsmith, who has also been ordered out by Hastings, and sets up a trap for Hastings' men. As Mike serenades Quela, a daughter of one of the ranchers, the thugs arrive at the wagon camp to make trouble. However, they are ambushed and overtaken peaceably by Mike and the ranchers, who also confiscate their guns and horses, promising that all will be returned when the ranchers are safely away. The wagons, with the women and children, proceed north, and the thugs round up a few guns by stealing them from citizens of Questa. Meanwhile, as Mike and Shiloh distract Hastings' men in the saloon by singing "Dixie," which starts a brawl, Ben and the other ranchers retrieve their cattle and herd them north. Guessing that the livestock has been retaken, Hastings organizes his men to create a stampede during the night that will kill all the ranchers. He then plans to retake the cattle. When Marian, who has been against the cattle stealing, fails to dissuade Hastings from his plans, she races out to the ranchers' wagon camp, but just as she arrives, her horse trips and she is thrown and knocked unconscious before she can warn them. Wondering why Marian has ridden out, Mike sets up guards for the night, but the guards are incapacitated by Hastings' men and the stampede is set in motion. Marian, who is being cared for in one of the ranchers' wagons, awakens during the commotion and screams. Hastings recognizes her scream and tries to rescue her, but is trampled to death by the cattle. After rescuing Marian, Mike and the ranchers head off the cattle until the animals settle down. The next day, as the ranchers prepare to continue their journey north with their cattle, Marian decides to return to Questa and run the ranch more honorably. Mike decides to go with her. +

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.