Gunsmoke (1953)

78-79 mins | Western | March 1953

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HISTORY

The working titles of this film were Roughshod and A Man's Country . An Apr 1952 Var article reported that the CBS network had warned Universal that it would protect the name of its radio program Gunsmoke , which they planned to make into a television series. Although the article stated that Twentieth Century-Fox had already relinquished claim to the title, an Oct 1952 LAT item mentioned Fox's plan to produce a film of the same name. That film's title was cahnged to City of Bad Men (see above). The film and the popular radio and television series were otherwise unrelated. According to a Jun 1952 HR news item, some scenes in Gunsmoke were shot on location at Big Bear Lake, CA. Modern sources add Al Haskell to the ... More Less

The working titles of this film were Roughshod and A Man's Country . An Apr 1952 Var article reported that the CBS network had warned Universal that it would protect the name of its radio program Gunsmoke , which they planned to make into a television series. Although the article stated that Twentieth Century-Fox had already relinquished claim to the title, an Oct 1952 LAT item mentioned Fox's plan to produce a film of the same name. That film's title was cahnged to City of Bad Men (see above). The film and the popular radio and television series were otherwise unrelated. According to a Jun 1952 HR news item, some scenes in Gunsmoke were shot on location at Big Bear Lake, CA. Modern sources add Al Haskell to the cast. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
14 Feb 1953.
---
Daily Variety
6 Feb 53
p. 3.
Film Daily
4 Mar 53
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
14 May 52
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Jun 52
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Jun 52
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Jul 52
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jul 52
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Feb 53
p. 3.
Los Angeles Mirror
11 Feb 1953.
---
Los Angeles Times
10 Jun 1952.
---
Los Angeles Times
13 Oct 1952.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
7 Feb 53
p. 1710.
Variety
9 Apr 1952.
---
Variety
11 Feb 53
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
MUSIC
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Roughshod by Norman A. Fox (New York, 1951).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"True Love," words and music by Frederick Herbert and Arnold Hughes
"See What the Boys in the Back Room Will Have," words by Frank Loesser, music by Frederick Hollander.
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
A Man's Country
Roughshod
Release Date:
March 1953
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 11 February 1953
Production Date:
12 June--mid July 1952
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Co., inc.
Copyright Date:
2 January 1953
Copyright Number:
LP2246
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
78-79
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
16145
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Hired guns Reb Kittredge and Johnny Lake are chased out of state after state until Reb, who wants to settle down on his own ranch, decides to pursue a job possibility in Billings, Montana. Reb sets off alone, and is soon shot at by a stranger, who also kills his horse. Reb chases away his attacker and pockets the spent shells he leaves behind. Reb is eventually picked up by a stagecoach, which also carries pretty Rita Saxon, who spurns his attentions upon recognizing his name. When they reach town, Rita informs her father Dan and his foreman, Curly Mather, who loves her, that the bank would not give them the loan that they need to protect their ranch from Matt Telford. Telford wants the Saxons' land to complete his monopoly on the area real estate. Dan, realizing that Telford has sent for Reb to kill him, finds the sharpshooter in the street and challenges him to a duel. He and Rita are shocked when Reb merely shoots the gun out of Dan's hand instead of killing him. Soon after, Reb learns from the local ammunition storekeeper that only Curly uses the same caliber of bullet that his attacker left behind. Later, Rita visits Reb at his hotel and tries to convince him that she is willing to trade herself for her father's safety. Reb, who knows she is bluffing, sends her away. That night, he goes to Telford's saloon, where his old friend, singer Cora Dufrayne, proposes that Reb kill Telford after she marries the land baron, so she can inherit his estate. When Reb refuses, Cora introduces him to Telford, who will not meet Reb's high payment ... +


Hired guns Reb Kittredge and Johnny Lake are chased out of state after state until Reb, who wants to settle down on his own ranch, decides to pursue a job possibility in Billings, Montana. Reb sets off alone, and is soon shot at by a stranger, who also kills his horse. Reb chases away his attacker and pockets the spent shells he leaves behind. Reb is eventually picked up by a stagecoach, which also carries pretty Rita Saxon, who spurns his attentions upon recognizing his name. When they reach town, Rita informs her father Dan and his foreman, Curly Mather, who loves her, that the bank would not give them the loan that they need to protect their ranch from Matt Telford. Telford wants the Saxons' land to complete his monopoly on the area real estate. Dan, realizing that Telford has sent for Reb to kill him, finds the sharpshooter in the street and challenges him to a duel. He and Rita are shocked when Reb merely shoots the gun out of Dan's hand instead of killing him. Soon after, Reb learns from the local ammunition storekeeper that only Curly uses the same caliber of bullet that his attacker left behind. Later, Rita visits Reb at his hotel and tries to convince him that she is willing to trade herself for her father's safety. Reb, who knows she is bluffing, sends her away. That night, he goes to Telford's saloon, where his old friend, singer Cora Dufrayne, proposes that Reb kill Telford after she marries the land baron, so she can inherit his estate. When Reb refuses, Cora introduces him to Telford, who will not meet Reb's high payment demands. In the saloon downstairs, Telford watches as Dan, a known card sharp, gambles with Reb for the deed to the ranch. Dan deliberately loses the bet to ensure that Reb will not work for Telford. Reb takes over the ranch, immediately discovering that it is bankrupt and that only a cattle drive will save them. Although Curly and the ranchhands threaten to quit, Dan, whom Reb has hired, convinces them to stay on, and the drive begins the next morning. Out on the range, Reb pushes the men hard and attempts to keep Curly away from Rita. Meanwhile, Cora and Telford hire Johnny, who quickly organizes a stampede of the Saxon cattle, which Reb and his men eventually contain. When their supplies run out soon after, Reb and Rita go to town and there learn that Telford has cancelled their credit. Reb confronts Telford and discovers both Johnny's presence and the fact that a Montana law disallows the transfer of land won in a gamble. Reb storms out and forces the grocer to sell to them, but as soon as they finish loading their wagon, Johnny and three thugs attack Reb. Reluctant to kill his old friend, Johnny nonetheless beats up Reb, breaking his shooting arm. Afterward, Rita ministers to Reb, refusing to answer when he asks if she loves Curly. Over the next few days, Reb continues to move the cattle quickly, to everyone's surprise. After Johnny's men start a brush fire to block their way, Reb announces that they will take the cattle across the mountains, and Curly, who resents being ordered around by Reb, quits. Although the mountains are almost impassible, Reb forges ahead. Curly, however, joins forces with Telford and leads Johnny to the cattle drive. Upon learning that they are approaching, Reb sets up a trap for Johnny's men, luring them into a valley and shooting at them from above. Dan is wounded in the battle, but Johnny's band eventually retreats, allowing Reb to finish the drive the next day. As Reb collects the money, Dan's wound is pronounced minor, and he later reveals to Reb that he lost the ranch purposefully because he also had a wild youth and needed someone to help him go straight, and because he prefers Reb over Curly as a son-in-law. Grateful, Reb asks Dan to hold the deed to the ranch while he settles the score for his wounded arm. At the saloon, even after Johnny pulls his gun, Reb continues to walk toward Telford's office. A shot goes off, and Telford tumbles down the stairs, shot by Johnny to protect Reb's life. The two friends shake hands, and Cora falls into Johnny's arms. Just then, Rita arrives with Dan and, overjoyed to find Reb alive, kisses him while her father smiles contentedly. +

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.