Cave of Outlaws (1951)

75-76 mins | Western | November 1951

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HISTORY

The working title of this film was The Cave . A written foreword reads, "All the Cave scenes in this production were actually photographed in the Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. We gratefully acknowledge the assistance of the National Park Service of the United States Department of the Interior whose splendid cooperation made these scenes possible."
       Universal-International bought Elizabeth Wilson's original story in Sep 1950 and hired her to write the screenplay. Howard Duff was originally cast as "Pete Carver," but, according to a Mar 1951 HR news item, could not begin filming on time because of a broken leg. A modern source adds Clem Fuller to the ... More Less

The working title of this film was The Cave . A written foreword reads, "All the Cave scenes in this production were actually photographed in the Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. We gratefully acknowledge the assistance of the National Park Service of the United States Department of the Interior whose splendid cooperation made these scenes possible."
       Universal-International bought Elizabeth Wilson's original story in Sep 1950 and hired her to write the screenplay. Howard Duff was originally cast as "Pete Carver," but, according to a Mar 1951 HR news item, could not begin filming on time because of a broken leg. A modern source adds Clem Fuller to the cast. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
3 Nov 1951.
---
Daily Variety
25 Oct 51
p. 3.
Film Daily
31 Oct 51
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Sep 50
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Mar 51
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Mar 51
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Mar 51
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Mar 51
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Apr 1951
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Jul 51
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Oct 51
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
9 Feb 1951.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
3 Nov 51
p. 1094.
Variety
31 Oct 51
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITER
Story and scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit mgr
Dial dir
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Cave
Release Date:
November 1951
Production Date:
27 March--late April 1951
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Co., inc.
Copyright Date:
24 September 1951
Copyright Number:
LP1171
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
75-76
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
15344
SYNOPSIS

In the Arizona Territory in 1880, a gang of bandits steals a bag of gold and then races to their cave hideout, followed by a posse. When the posse finds the cave, they kill all of the gang members except teenager Pete Carver, who is arrested and sent to Kansas State Prison. Fifteen years later, a toughened Pete is released with only fifteen dollars. He returns to Copper Bend, the town closest to the caves, and finds it built up, thanks to the recent discovery of nearby copper mines. Since the gold from the robbery has never been recovered, Wells Fargo agent Dobbs tracks Pete to town, suspecting he knows where the gold is hidden. The rest of the townspeople assume the same about Pete, and offer him unlimited credit. As Pete signs into the hotel, he is stopped by Elizabeth Trent, who also wants a stake in Pete's supposed fortune. Impressed by her beauty, he agrees to invest in her failed newspaper, the Clarion . Liz is married, but her husband Ed disappeared one year earlier while trying to track down the stolen gold. Within days, Liz rehires her printer, Cooley, and the two struggle to resuscitate the paper. One night, Pete searches the cave but finds no gold. Dobbs awaits him at the mouth of the cave, and Pete reveals to the agent that he believes his father, a gang member who was shot by the posse, buried the gold somewhere before he died. The next day, Pete learns that Liz has been dating the richest man in town, copper tycoon Ben Cross, and accuses her of seeing him only to get money for ... +


In the Arizona Territory in 1880, a gang of bandits steals a bag of gold and then races to their cave hideout, followed by a posse. When the posse finds the cave, they kill all of the gang members except teenager Pete Carver, who is arrested and sent to Kansas State Prison. Fifteen years later, a toughened Pete is released with only fifteen dollars. He returns to Copper Bend, the town closest to the caves, and finds it built up, thanks to the recent discovery of nearby copper mines. Since the gold from the robbery has never been recovered, Wells Fargo agent Dobbs tracks Pete to town, suspecting he knows where the gold is hidden. The rest of the townspeople assume the same about Pete, and offer him unlimited credit. As Pete signs into the hotel, he is stopped by Elizabeth Trent, who also wants a stake in Pete's supposed fortune. Impressed by her beauty, he agrees to invest in her failed newspaper, the Clarion . Liz is married, but her husband Ed disappeared one year earlier while trying to track down the stolen gold. Within days, Liz rehires her printer, Cooley, and the two struggle to resuscitate the paper. One night, Pete searches the cave but finds no gold. Dobbs awaits him at the mouth of the cave, and Pete reveals to the agent that he believes his father, a gang member who was shot by the posse, buried the gold somewhere before he died. The next day, Pete learns that Liz has been dating the richest man in town, copper tycoon Ben Cross, and accuses her of seeing him only to get money for the Clarion . Liz, who is falling in love with Pete, slaps him. Outside, two men who think Pete may be carrying gold beat him up, but Pete is rescued by Cross's right-hand man, Garth. Garth brings Pete to Cross, who offers to get Dobbs out of his way, asking in return that Pete stop wooing Liz. Cross convinces Pete by stating that Ed is dead and he and Liz are engaged. Pete goes straight to the saloon to drink away his disappointment, and when Liz finds him there, he bitterly congratulates her on her engagement. She persuades him that Cross lied, and he promises to give up looking for the gold. Over the next days, the two work happily at the printing business until Cross visits and secretly warns Liz that Pete is obsessed by the gold, just as Ed was. After Cross leaves, a suspicious Pete informs Dobbs about the deal he has struck with Cross. The next afternoon, Pete and Dobbs go to the cave together. Garth follows them there, and after Pete shoots him, the henchman reveals that Cross, who was in love with Liz, sent Ed to the cave and then killed him as soon as Ed found the gold. Garth tells them that Ed's body immediately disappeared, as if he had fallen down a cliff. Pete leads Dobbs to a hidden cliff, and there Dobbs falls down a slippery pass. He breaks his leg but finds Ed's body and the gold. Unable to move, Dobbs expects Pete to leave him, but instead Pete carries Dobbs outside, where Garth shoots at them. Dobbs kills Garth and promises Pete that he will testify as to Garth's confession. They go to Liz's, but when they tell her about Ed, she accuses Pete of having stayed in town only for the gold, and stalks out. She later agrees, however, to name Cross as Ed's murderer in the Clarion , and Cross soon arrives at the office to duel with Pete. Cross shoots Pete in the arm but, as Pete is about to fire his shot, begs for a trial instead. When the bullet is then removed from Pete's arm, and is revealed to be pure copper, Pete gets an idea. He returns to the cave, followed separately by Dobbs and Liz. Dobbs finds him first and assumes he has come for the gold, but Pete shows him the copper bullet he has recovered from Ed's body, which proves that Cross murdered him, and gives Dobbs the gold. Hearing Liz's voice, Pete rushes into the cave to find her, but Cross arrives first and grabs her. When Cross's goons trap him and insist he lead them to the gold, Pete takes them over the slippery cliff, knowing they will fall, and kills them both. Pete races back to Liz and is about to be shot by Cross when Dobbs appears at the mouth of cave and shoots Cross. As Liz embraces Pete, Dobbs comments on the irony of Pete earning the reward for returning the gold to Wells Fargo. +

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.