Arizona (1940 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Wesley Ruggles|
|Produced by||Wesley Ruggles|
|Written by||Clarence Budington Kelland (story)
|Music by||Stephen Foster
|Edited by||William A. Lyon
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Release dates||December 25, 1940|
|Running time||125 minutes|
Life in the Arizona Territory of the 1860s is hard, but Phoebe Titus (Jean Arthur), the only American woman in the pioneering community of Tucson, is up to the challenge. She catches the eye of Peter Muncie (William Holden), a handsome young man with a wagon train passing through on the way to California. He begins courting her, but tells her he is not ready to settle down in one spot. As a possible solution, Phoebe offers him a job heading a new freight company she has just formed with store owner Solomon Warner (Paul Harvey). He, however, is determined to see California, but promises to return when his wanderlust is satisfied.
Phoebe is more than a match for freight competitor Lazarus Ward (Porter Hall). However, a dandy named Jefferson Carteret (Warren William) shows up just as the American Civil War breaks out. He helps her persuade wavering residents to stay after the Union garrison pulls out, leaving them without protection against the Indians. Carteret pretends to be Phoebe's friend, but coerces Ward into making him a secret partner.
The treacherous pair try every underhanded way they can to destroy her business. They bribe Indian chief Mano with guns to attack her wagons. The Confederates gain the (temporary) allegiance of the community by sending some troops, but they are soon recalled east, and Union soldiers take over, among them Peter, now a sergeant. He helps Phoebe secure a lucrative army freight contract, but Carteret has Ward slander her to the Union commander, claiming that she supported the departed Confederates. Peter and Phoebe get the truth out of Ward at gunpoint, and regain the contract. Soon after, Peter's enlistment expires.
Phoebe persuades Peter to go to Nebraska to get cattle for the ranch she has always dreamed of owning. She has already bought a great deal of land cheaply from those who had left because of the troubles. However, the $15,000 the army paid her is stolen by Carteret's men. Carteret then offers to make her a loan, with her business and land as security. She accepts. Six months later, Carteret abruptly tells Phoebe that her loan is due. Fortunately, Peter is half a day away with their herd. Carteret gets the Indians to attack, but Peter and his men are able to fight them off. Peter gets a confession from one of Carteret's men, but Carteret kills his henchman after he shoots Ward in the back to rid himself of the last incriminating loose end.
The entire town celebrates as Phoebe and Peter get married. Then he has her wait for him in Solomon's store while he goes to settle accounts with Carteret. Shots are heard, then a relieved Phoebe takes her slightly wounded new husband home.
Arizona was filmed on a set located just outside the city of Tucson in the Sonoran Desert. After filming, it lay dormant for a few years during World War II, but was revived and made into a full studio after the war. The studio continues today as Old Tucson Studios.
- Jean Arthur as Phoebe Titus
- William Holden as Peter Muncie
- Warren William as Jefferson Carteret
- Porter Hall as Lazarus Ward, the established shipper
- Edgar Buchanan as Judge Bogardus
- Paul Harvey as Solomon Warner
- "NY Times: Arizona". NY Times. Retrieved 2008-12-12.