Branded (1950 film)
|Directed by||Rudolph Maté|
|Produced by||Mel Epstein|
|Written by||Max Brand (novel)
|Music by||Roy Webb|
W. Wallace Kelley
|Edited by||Alma Macrorie|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Running time||104 minutes|
|Box office||$2.2 million (US rentals)|
Branded is a 1950 western film starring Alan Ladd, Mona Freeman, Charles Bickford, and Robert Keith. It was adapted from the novel Montana Rides Again by Max Brand. A gunfighter on the run from the law is talked into posing as the long-lost son of a wealthy rancher.
Choya, a gunfighter on the run, is tracked down by cowboys Leffingwell and "Tattoo" in the mountains. They make him a part of a scheme to bilk a rich rancher named Lavery. The plan requires a tattoo on Choya's shoulder, but as soon as "Tattoo" creates one, Leffingwell shoots him in the back.
Choya rides to Lavery's Bar M ranch and asks foreman Ransome for a job, but doesn't get it. While they fight, Lavery and daughter Ruth ride up. Lavery feels the ranch could use another good hand, so Choya is hired.
Ruth tells the new man how her 5-year-old brother was a kidnap victim many years ago, never seen again. One day, Lavery notices the tattoo and is amazed because his long-lost son had one just like it. Choya pretends it is a coincidence, but tells a story about a childhood memory that convinces Mr. and Mrs. Lavery that he is "Richard, Jr."
Leffingwell turns up and is hired at the ranch. His plot is to kill Lavery so that Choya can inherit the ranch. A guilt-ridden Choya offers him an alternative, stealing Lavery's stock on a cattle roundup.
Ruth rides along. Choya likes her so he double-crosses Leffingwell and has the cattle money deposited in the Lavery's account in an El Paso bank. He also learns that Leffingwell is the one who kidnapped the kid, only to have a Mexican bandit named Rubriz snatch the boy away.
Choya crosses the border and finds Lavery's son has been raised by Rubriz under the name Tonio. He persuades Tonio to return to his real home. Rubriz's men give chase and so does Leffingwell, who is killed in a stampede. Choya and Tonio are trapped near the Rio Grande, but rescued just in time by Lavery and Ransome.
Lavery makes a pact with Rubriz that the boy is old enough to go anywhere he pleases. Choya plans to ride off for good, but Ruth prefers that he stay.
- Alan Ladd as Choya
- Mona Freeman as Ruth Lavery
- Charles Bickford as Mr. Richard Lavery
- Robert Keith as T. Jefferson Leffingwell
- Joseph Calleia as Rubriz
- Peter Hansen as Tonio
- Selena Royle as Mrs. Lavery
- Tom Tully as Ransom
- John Berkes as Tattoo
- Milburn Stone as Dawson
- Martin Garralaga as Hernandez
- 'The Top Box Office Hits of 1951', Variety, January 2, 1952