Vengeance Valley

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Vengeance Valley
Vengeance valley poster.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed by Richard Thorpe
Produced by Nicholas Nayfack
Screenplay by Irving Ravetch
Based on novel Vengeance Valley 
by Luke Short
Music by Rudolph G. Kopp
Cinematography George J. Folsey
Edited by Conrad A. Nervig
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release dates
  • February 16, 1951 (1951-02-16)
Running time 83 minutes
Language English
Budget $1,008,000[1]
Box office $3,146,000[1]

Vengeance Valley is a 1951 American Western film starring Burt Lancaster, based on the novel by Luke Short. In 1979, the film entered the public domain due to MGM's failure to renew its copyright registration in the 28th year after publication.[2]


Fifteen years ago, wealthy but crippled Colorado cattleman Arch Strobie took in young Owen Daybright to help raise his wild son, Lee Strobie. Now Owen is the ranch foreman, but he still has to keep Lee out of trouble.

Unmarried Lily Fasken gives birth, but refuses to identify the father: Lee. Lee is married to Jen, who is unaware he has been unfaithful. Lily's brothers, Hub and Dick, believe that Owen is the guilty party, as he gave her $500 to take care of the baby, but are not aware that Owen did so on Lee's behalf. The brothers pick a fight with Owen and are put behind bars for a week, vowing to get even as soon as they're out.

Arch chides Lee for overdrawing his bank account by withdrawing $500 in gold, causing Jen to realize that her husband is the baby's father. When she confronts him, Lee tries to lie his way out, which causes Jen to stop loving him. She decides to leave him, but is persuaded by Owen to stay and try to work things out.

Lee also is ambitious. He tells Arch he will strike out on his own; Arch gives him a half-interest in the ranch immediately to keep him around, with the other half going to Owen after Arch is gone.

Jen locks Lee out of their bedroom. Lee gets drunk and mistakenly believes she and Owen are carrying on behind his back. (In fact, the two are strongly attracted to each other, but do nothing about it.) Lee schemes to get rid of Owen and make a fortune at the same time by conspiring with Hub and Dick to ambush Owen on the spring cattle roundup.

On the trail, Lee secretly sells 3,000 head of Arch's cattle, but Owen learns about it. When Owen refuses to be a party to robbing Arch, Lee pretends to give in. He persuades Owen to go with him to see the buyer, but in fact he lures Owen into a trap.

When Hub and Dick start shooting, Owen is slightly wounded, but he kills Dick and a posse ride to his rescue and deal with Hub. Because Lee rode away without trying to help, Owen knows he was in on the ambush. When he catches up with Lee, he tries to persuade his former friend to return home and confess everything to Arch. Instead, Lee draws his gun, forcing Owen to kill him. Owen breaks the news to Arch and Jen.



According to MGM records the film earned $1,997,000 in the US and Canada and $1,149,000 elsewhere resulting in a profit of $841,000.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study .
  2. ^ Pierce, David (June 2007). "Forgotten Faces: Why Some of Our Cinema Heritage Is Part of the Public Domain". Film History: An International Journal 19 (2): 125–43. doi:10.2979/FIL.2007.19.2.125. ISSN 0892-2160. OCLC 15122313. Retrieved 2012-01-05. 

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