The Proud Rebel

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The Proud Rebel
The Proud Rebel - 1958- poster.png
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Michael Curtiz
Produced by Samuel Goldwyn Jr
Written by Joseph Petracca
Lillie Hayward
Starring Alan Ladd
Olivia de Havilland
Music by Jerome Moross
Cinematography Ted D. McCord
Edited by Aaron Stell
Formosa Productions
Distributed by Buena Vista Distribution (USA)
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (UK)
HBO Video (DVD)
Release dates
  • May 28, 1958 (1958-05-28)
Running time
103 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Proud Rebel is a 1958 Western film directed by Michael Curtiz with a screenplay by Joseph Petracca and Lillie Hayward that is based on a story by James Edward Grant. It is the story of a former confederate soldier and his mute son.

The film stars Alan Ladd, Olivia de Havilland, Dean Jagger, David Ladd and Cecil Kellaway and co-stars Harry Dean Stanton (credited as Dean Stanton) in an early film appearance.


A former Confederate soldier, John Chandler has come to an Illinois town with his 10-year-old son David to see Dr. Enos Davis. The boy was struck mute after witnessing his mother's death in a fire, and hasn't spoken a word since. Davis recommends a doctor he knows in Minnesota.

With a flock of sheep blocking their path, John has their expertly trained dog Lance clear the way. The sheep belong to rancher Harry Burleigh and his sons, Jeb and Tom, who try to steal the dog. John fights them while a passing stranger, Linnett Moore, holds the child. Harry knocks out John, pours whiskey on him, then tells the sheriff about being attacked by a drunk.

John must pay $30 or serve 30 days in jail. Linnett intervenes, suggesting to the sheriff, that Chandler can work off the debt on her farm. In exchange she offers to cover the fine, so that he will be released. Chandler disagrees at first , but is won over by her decency. Over the course of time, he discovers that Linnet is being pressured by the overbearing Burleigh to sell her land. It transpires that her land is blocking the easy passage of his sheep to pasture and the railroad. Gradually, John and Linette grow closer, despite John determined to remain aloof, knowing he and his son will leave soon.

A trip to Minnesota for treatment will be expensive. John won't accept offers for the valuable dog, which the boy loves, but after the boy is taunted and beaten by local children, John decides to sell Lance after all to finance his son's medical bill. He asks Linette to accompany the boy up north while he rebuilds the barn, burned down by the Burleighs' men in an attempt to pressure Linette to sell.

The operation doesn't work, and David is devastated to return home and find the dog is no longer theirs. John goes back to the Burleighs to try to get it back and finds the dog being mistreated by them. Harry gives the dog back, but has his son Jeb prepared to shoot John as a thief. The boy shouts out to save his father's life. In the end, John shoots Harry and his older son, then returns to Linnett with the dog and David, now able to speak.






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