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HISTORY

This film's working title was The Riding Kid . The main title card of the print viewed read: " Riders of Vengeance --released theatrically as The Raiders ." Although the CBCS lists Emile Avery as "Dick Logan," the character is actually played by actor Dennis Weaver, and Avery does not appear in the final film. HR news items list Bill Bailey and Elmo Lincoln in the cast, but their appearance in the final film has not been ... More Less

This film's working title was The Riding Kid . The main title card of the print viewed read: " Riders of Vengeance --released theatrically as The Raiders ." Although the CBCS lists Emile Avery as "Dick Logan," the character is actually played by actor Dennis Weaver, and Avery does not appear in the final film. HR news items list Bill Bailey and Elmo Lincoln in the cast, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
18 Oct 1952.
---
Daily Variety
8 Oct 52
p. 4.
Film Daily
14 Oct 52
p. 6.
Harrison's Reports
11 Oct 52
pp. 162-63.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Mar 52
p. 3, 10, 14.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Mar 52
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Mar 52
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Apr 52
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Oct 52
p. 19.
Los Angeles Examiner
21 Nov 1952.
---
Los Angeles Times
21 Nov 1952.
---
Motion Picture Daily
9 Oct 1952.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
11 Oct 52
p. 1558.
New York Times
13 Dec 52
p. 19.
The Exhibitor
22 Oct 52
pp. 3399-3400.
Variety
8 Oct 52
p. 12.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
Dial dir
PRODUCER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
MUSIC
MAKEUP
Makeup
Makeup
Hairstylist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit prod mgr
Scr supv
Coordinator
Wrangler
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
Technicolor tech
Technicolor tech
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Riders of Vengeance
The Riding Kid
Release Date:
November 1952
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 20 November 1952
Production Date:
7 March--5 April 1952
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Co.
Copyright Date:
2 November 1952
Copyright Number:
LP2048
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
80
Length(in feet):
7,202
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
15956
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1849, after the discovery of gold, thousands trek to California seeking their fortunes. After prospector Jan Morell receives a letter from his uncle advising him that he has located good farming land in the Napa Valley, Jan decides to find enough gold to buy a farm and move there with his wife Mary. While Jan helps his brother Frank, prospecting in a nearby river bed, a gang of thugs led by Jack Welch and Hank Purvis kill Mary and take Jan's gold. Purvis also takes a cameo necklace Jan gave to Mary. Frank sees the gang ride off and Jan swears vengeance. After looking for the gang at a saloon, Frank is shot and killed and Jan wounded. Mexican Felipe de Ortega takes Jan to his home, where his sister Elena nurses him back to health. Later, Elena shows Jan all the land that once belonged to the Rancho de Ortega and which mayor Thomas Ainsworth, operating as the Sierra Land Co., stole from their father. She hopes that when California becomes a state, the courts will protect the family from further losses. Felipe tells Jan that Ainsworth's men killed Mary and Frank, as Ainsworth wanted to take over Jan's claim because the area is rumored to contain the mother lode. Meanwhile, Ainsworth instructs Welch and Purvis to continue taking over claims, but to use less violence, as the governor is sending a marshal to the area. Ainsworth also learns that the governor is planning a constitutional convention in Monterey, with delegates attending from all over the state. Most are in favor of statehood, but Ainsworth knows he will benefit most if California becomes an independent republic. After ... +


In 1849, after the discovery of gold, thousands trek to California seeking their fortunes. After prospector Jan Morell receives a letter from his uncle advising him that he has located good farming land in the Napa Valley, Jan decides to find enough gold to buy a farm and move there with his wife Mary. While Jan helps his brother Frank, prospecting in a nearby river bed, a gang of thugs led by Jack Welch and Hank Purvis kill Mary and take Jan's gold. Purvis also takes a cameo necklace Jan gave to Mary. Frank sees the gang ride off and Jan swears vengeance. After looking for the gang at a saloon, Frank is shot and killed and Jan wounded. Mexican Felipe de Ortega takes Jan to his home, where his sister Elena nurses him back to health. Later, Elena shows Jan all the land that once belonged to the Rancho de Ortega and which mayor Thomas Ainsworth, operating as the Sierra Land Co., stole from their father. She hopes that when California becomes a state, the courts will protect the family from further losses. Felipe tells Jan that Ainsworth's men killed Mary and Frank, as Ainsworth wanted to take over Jan's claim because the area is rumored to contain the mother lode. Meanwhile, Ainsworth instructs Welch and Purvis to continue taking over claims, but to use less violence, as the governor is sending a marshal to the area. Ainsworth also learns that the governor is planning a constitutional convention in Monterey, with delegates attending from all over the state. Most are in favor of statehood, but Ainsworth knows he will benefit most if California becomes an independent republic. After Jan confirms that Ainsworth has stolen his claim, Felipe introduces him to several local men, including cousins Juan and Ramon, who all have a score to settle with Ainsworth. They band together and begin their campaign against Ainsworth by rustling a large herd of his horses and killing two of his men. When they return from selling the horses, they find posters, signed by U.S. Marshal William Henderson, announcing a $5,000 reward for their capture. Elena, who is romantically interested in Jan, asks him to abandon their outlaw tactics. Although Jan and Felipe open the Sunset Land Co. in San Andreas to compete against Ainsworth, they continue clandestinely to attack his interests. When they hold up a Monterey-bound stagecoach carrying Ainsworth's daughter Elizabeth, Jan notices that Purvis, who is along as an extra guard, is wearing a fob made from Mary's cameo necklace. Although Purvis states that he bought it, Jan and Felipe take him prisoner. Later, Elizabeth, who is unaware of her father's criminal activities, tells him that the holdup's masked leader accused Purvis of killing a woman and was demanding the names of three accomplices. At his hideout, Jan beats Purvis and prepares to hang him, but Purvis finally gives him the names and tells him about Ainsworth's involvement. Purvis then breaks loose but is killed while escaping. Jan, looking for the other killers, goes to see Ainsworth and meets Elizabeth, who does not recognize him from their previous encounter. She tells him that Welch can be found at one of her father's mines. At the mine, Jan and Welch fight while the rest of the gang make off with a wagon full of gold. Welch is killed in error by his own men, and Felipe is also fatally wounded. As he dies at the home of the widow Cummings, whose husband was murdered by Welch and Purvis, Felipe asks Jan to promise to make Ainsworth give back his land and to take care of Elena. Later, Jan apologizes to Elena for Felipe's death and promises to take her away once he has dealt with Ainsworth, but she prepares to leave. Marshal Henderson begins to have doubts about Ainsworth's honesty and persuades him to go to the Sunset Land Co. to request a loan. The clerk takes Ainsworth's application to Jan's hideout and is followed by the marshal. Jan plans to trick Ainsworth into mortgaging all his land. When Henderson and Ainsworth attack Jan and the others as they leave the hideout, Jan escapes but Ainsworth recovers a satchel containing stolen gold and sends it to Monterey, where the gold is to be used to bribe delegates. Jan goes to Ainsworth's house and forces him to prepare a written confession. However, when Ainsworth draws a gun, Jan shoots and kills him. Henderson arrests Jan but arranges to represent him, as he is also a member of the bar and is now convinced of Ainsworth's guilt. However, the jury finds Jan guilty and he is sentenced to be hanged. In jail, Jan learns that California has joined the Union and the governor, under a general amnesty, pardons him. Henderson frees Jan, and he finds Elena waiting for him. +

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.