Bad Lands (1939)

70 mins | Western | 28 August 1939

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HISTORY

A working title for this film was The Great Seizer . According to a HR pre-production news item, Bad Lands was set for a two-week shoot on location at Victorville, California. A HR production chart lists Stanley Ridges in the cast, but his appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. Many contemporary reviews of the picture compare it to the 1934 RKO film The Lost Patrol (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ; ... More Less

A working title for this film was The Great Seizer . According to a HR pre-production news item, Bad Lands was set for a two-week shoot on location at Victorville, California. A HR production chart lists Stanley Ridges in the cast, but his appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. Many contemporary reviews of the picture compare it to the 1934 RKO film The Lost Patrol (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ; F3.2580). More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
21 Jul 39
p. 3.
Film Daily
28 Aug 39
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
12 May 39
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
20 May 39
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Jul 39
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald
3 Jun 39
p. 35.
Motion Picture Herald
19 Aug 39
p. 54.
New York Times
9 Aug 39
p. 15.
Variety
16 Aug 39
p. 16.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Great Seizer
Release Date:
28 August 1939
Production Date:
15 May--late May 1939
Copyright Claimant:
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
11 August 1939
Copyright Number:
LP9171
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Victor System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
70
Length(in feet):
6,327
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
PCA No:
5402
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1875, notorious outlaw Apache Jack flees into the Arizona desert after killing the bride of Manuel Lopez. Sheriff Bill Cummings sets out on Apache Jack's trail with a posse comprised of Manuel Lopez, who seeks to avenge his wife's murder; Westerners Rayburn and Chic Lyman; an Easterner named Mulford; frontiersman Kier; cowboy Billy Sweet; Eaton, an Englishman; and two prospectors, Cluff and Garth. Deep in the Arizona wastelands, the party discovers the body of an advance scout who was killed by Apache Jack. When the posse arrives at an oasis in a narrow wash, the men quench their thirst in the water, but are startled by the sight of several skeletons near the watering hole. While Cluff and Garth find indications of a rich silver deposit in the area, the posse sets up camp. Eaton is appointed to stand guard over the horses at night, but at daybreak the Sheriff awakens to find him, his horse and Cluff and Garth missing. No sooner are the men found at an adjoining wash, however, than Cluff is killed by a bullet fired by an unseen Apache sharpshooter on the ridge. Certain that they are surrounded by Apaches, the men play cards to determine who will be sent to get help. Garth and Billy are pressed into the dangerous mission, but before they go, a horse carrying Eaton's corpse rides in, reminding them of the Apaches' deadliness. The endless wait for help to arrive proves too much for Lopez, who takes off on a mad search for his dead wife. While attempting to stop Lopez, Kier is stabbed. The Sheriff, Mulford, and Rayburn are ... +


In 1875, notorious outlaw Apache Jack flees into the Arizona desert after killing the bride of Manuel Lopez. Sheriff Bill Cummings sets out on Apache Jack's trail with a posse comprised of Manuel Lopez, who seeks to avenge his wife's murder; Westerners Rayburn and Chic Lyman; an Easterner named Mulford; frontiersman Kier; cowboy Billy Sweet; Eaton, an Englishman; and two prospectors, Cluff and Garth. Deep in the Arizona wastelands, the party discovers the body of an advance scout who was killed by Apache Jack. When the posse arrives at an oasis in a narrow wash, the men quench their thirst in the water, but are startled by the sight of several skeletons near the watering hole. While Cluff and Garth find indications of a rich silver deposit in the area, the posse sets up camp. Eaton is appointed to stand guard over the horses at night, but at daybreak the Sheriff awakens to find him, his horse and Cluff and Garth missing. No sooner are the men found at an adjoining wash, however, than Cluff is killed by a bullet fired by an unseen Apache sharpshooter on the ridge. Certain that they are surrounded by Apaches, the men play cards to determine who will be sent to get help. Garth and Billy are pressed into the dangerous mission, but before they go, a horse carrying Eaton's corpse rides in, reminding them of the Apaches' deadliness. The endless wait for help to arrive proves too much for Lopez, who takes off on a mad search for his dead wife. While attempting to stop Lopez, Kier is stabbed. The Sheriff, Mulford, and Rayburn are the only men left alive after the wounded Kier dies, and Lyman is shot from his horse by an Apache. Desperate, the three men devise a plan to create a diversion to allow two of them to flee unnoticed by the Apaches. Rayburn goes up the wash, while the Sheriff and Mulford hide in the rocks, but he is soon shot by the indians, who approach the watering hole thinking that they have killed off the last remaining man. As Apache Jack examines the graves of the murdered posse, the Sheriff and Mulford shoot and kill the outlaw and several indians. Believing that they have eliminated the Apache threats, the Sheriff and Mulford emerge, only to be fired upon by a wounded indian, who kills Mulford. The Sheriff, the sole survivor of the ambush, shoots the wounded Apache and is soon rescued by a passing cavalry party. +

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.