Desire in the Dust
Desire in the Dust is a 1960 film made by 20th Century Fox, directed by William F. Claxton, and produced by Robert L. Lippert. The film stars Raymond Burr, Martha Hyer and Joan Bennett. The screenplay was written by Charles Lang, based on a novel by Harry Whittington.
Lonnie Wilson (Ken Scott), the son of a sharecropper, Zuba Wilson (Douglas Fowley), returns to his small southern hometown of Clinton, Louisiana after spending six years on the chain-gang for killing Colonel Ben Marquand's son, Davey, in an automobile accident. He revives his love affair with Melinda Marquand (Martha Hyer), who is now Mrs. Melinda Thomas, having married Dr. Ned Thomas (Brett Halsey) while Lonnie was serving time in her place for the accident she caused.
Somewhat miffed about all this, Lonnie incites Dr. Ned about his wife's infidelity, which Dr. Ned verifies when he catches Lonnie and Melinda in a semi-torrid embrace in Colonel Marquand's hunting lodge. Melinda, looking for an explanation, shoots and wounds Lonnie to defend her innocence by claiming she was being raped.
Colonel Marquand (Raymond Burr), who had bribed Lonnie to take the blame for his daughter, uses her story to have Sheriff Wheaton (Kelly Thordsen) kill Lonnie, thereby putting an end to all this mess. Mrs. Marquand (Joan Bennett) eventually faces Davey's death and realizes that she witnessed Melinda run down her little brother.
Peter Marquand (Jack Ging) and Ned return to the lodge and inform Otis that the charges against Lonnie are all lies. Exonerated, Lonnie gives Zuba the deed to the farm, and the old man dances in delight, thrilled to finally own his land.
- Raymond Burr as Col. Ben Marquand
- Martha Hyer as Melinda Marquand
- Joan Bennett as Mrs. Marquand
- Ken Scott as Lonnie Wilson
- Brett Halsey as Dr. Ned Thomas
- Ed Binns as Luke Connett
- Margaret Field as Maude Wilson (later Maggie Mahoney, mother of Sally Field)
- Douglas Fowley as Zuba Wilson
- Kelly Thordsen as Sheriff Wheaton
- Rex Ingram as Burt Crane
- Jack Ging as Peter Marquand
- Anne Helm as Cass Wilson
- Irene Ryan as Nora Finney
- Paul Baxley as Thurman Case
- Robert Earle as Virgil
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