Rocky Mountain (film)

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Rocky Mountain
Theatrical release psoter
Directed by William Keighley
Produced by William Jacobs
Written by Winston Miller
Alan Le May
Starring Errol Flynn
Music by Max Steiner
Cinematography Ted McCord
Edited by Rudi Fehr
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release dates
  • November 11, 1950 (1950-11-11)
Running time
83 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office £125,231 (UK)
1,459,012 admissions (France)[1]

Rocky Mountain is a 1950 western film directed by William Keighley and starring Errol Flynn.[2] It takes place near the end of the American Civil War.


In the opening shot, a car pulls up to an historical marker in the desert that reads:

ROCKY MOUNTAIN, also known as Ghost Mountain. On March 26, 1865, a detachment of Confederate cavalry crossed the state line into California under secret orders from Gen. Robert E. Lee to rendezvous at Ghost Mountain with one Cole Smith, with instructions to place the flag atop the mountain, and though their mission failed, the heroism displayed by these gallant men honored the cause for which they fought so valiantly.

Eight horsemen trek across the California desert, arriving at Ghost Mountain. Led by Captain Lafe Barstow of the Mississippi Mounted Rifles, the eight encounter a man calling himself California Beal, an envoy from Cole Smith. Barstow's mission is to persuade Smith and his 500 men to raid California on behalf of the Confederacy as a last desperate effort to turn the tide of the war. From their vantage point on the mountain, the men see a Shoshone war party attack a stagecoach. Barstow's men charge and drive off the Shoshone after the stage overturns, rescuing driver Gil Craigie and the only surviving passenger, Johanna Carter, traveling to join her fiancé, Union Army officer Lt. Rickey.

That night, the Indians burn the stage. Next morning, a detachment of four Union soldiers and three Shoshone scouts examine the ashes. Barstow's men ambush the detachment, killing one and capturing the rest, including Lt. Rickey. From them, Barstow learns that the Union knows about their presence in California and that California Beal is actually Cole Smith himself. Smith leaves, promising to return in two days with his men. Craigie talks with the Shoshone scouts and learns that they are really a chief, Man Dog, and his sons. He warns Barstow that they will escape and return with their tribe. That night, while Jimmy is on watch, the Indians try to escape. The soldiers kill two of them, but Man Dog evades their bullets.

In the morning, Rickey suggests that he take Johanna to a nearby garrison before the Indians arrive. Barstow, however, hopes that Smith's men will come before the Indians do and rejects the suggestion. Near dawn, Rickey's men jump their guards. One dies in the attempt, and another recaptured, but Rickey makes his escape. The Southerners find a riderless horse but it turns out to be Smith's, not Rickey's, and they realize that help is not coming.

Barstow decides to use all his men to lure the Indians away from the mountain while Johanna, Craigie and the Union trooper escape. The greatly outnumbered Rebels ride into a box canyon and turn to fight, charging the Shoshone. During the battle, Rickey returns with a troop of Union cavalry, and Johanna tells Rickey what has happened. The cavalry attempt to save Barstow's men but are too late; all the Southerners have been killed. Rickey raises their rebel flag on top of Rocky Mountain to salute the bravery of their fallen foes.



The film was originally titled Ghost Mountain. Ronald Reagan badly wanted to play the lead but it was given to Errol Flynn, who was announced as star early.[3][4] Lauren Bacall was assigned to play the female lead under her contract with Warner Bros but turned it down and was suspended as a result.[5] She was replaced by Patrice Wymore.

During filming Flynn fell in love with Wymore and later married her.[6]


The film earned £125,231 at the English box office.[7]

According to James Garner, the script for the movie was used as the basis for the first episode of the TV series Maverick.[8]

Actually the film was the used as the basis for the first episode of the T V series Cheyenne entitled “Mountain Fortress" on 20 Sep. 1955.


  1. ^ 1951 French box office figures at Box Office Story
  2. ^ Crowther, Bosley. "New York Times: Rocky Mountain (1950)". NY Times. Retrieved 2008-12-20. 
  3. ^ Memo from Mr Obringer to Jack Warner, dated 17 February 1950, Ed Rudy Behlmer Inside Warner Bros (1935-1951), 1985 p 208
  4. ^ Taylor to Enact Zapata; 'Dead Man' Deal Closed; Champion Goes It Alone Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 11 Nov 1948: 25.
  5. ^ 'LORNA DOONE' ROLE TO BARBARA HALE: Edward Small Signs Actress for New Screen Version of Novel--Karlson Director Of Local Origin By THOMAS F. BRADY Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 12 May 1950: 32.
  6. ^ Tony Thomas, Rudy Behlmer & Clifford McCarty, The Films of Errol Flynn, Citadel Press, 1969 p 168-169
  7. ^ Vincent Porter, 'The Robert Clark Account', Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Vol 20 No 4, 2000 p494
  8. ^ "James Garner: You Ought to be in Pictures". Movieline. May 1, 1994. Retrieved 2012-04-19. 

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