The Moonlighter

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The Moonlighter
Directed by Roy Rowland
Produced by Joseph Bernhard
Written by Niven Busch (story and screenplay)
Starring Barbara Stanwyck
Fred MacMurray
Music by Heinz Roemheld
Cinematography Bert Glennon
Edited by Terry O. Morse
Joseph Bernhard Productions
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date
  • September 19, 1953 (1953-09-19)
Running time
78 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $1 million (US)[1]

The Moonlighter is a 1953 3D Western film starring Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray.


Wes Anderson has been "moonlighting," rustling cattle at night under the moon. A lynch mob led by rancher Alex Prince accidentally hangs the wrong man due to a mixup from a cell change during a jail cleaning. Wes escapes.

Rela, his former sweetheart, after a 5 year absence by Wes, is now involved with Wes' younger brother Tom, who works in a bank. Tom has always admired Wes. Wes seeks vengeance on the lynch party and begins killing some of Prince's hands who lynched the innocent man.

Tom is fired at the Rio Hondo bank by Mott, his boss. Cole Gardner, an outlaw, persuades Wes to rob the bank, and Tom decides to join them. Rela angrily warns Wes that if any harm comes to Tom, she will hold him responsible.

During the robbery, Wes and Cole get away with the money but Tom is shot by his former boss. A posse is formed and Rela demands to be deputized and bring back Wes dead or alive. Cole double-crosses his partner, taking the money and leaving Wes tied up. When Cole encounters Rela on the trail, she outflanks and shoots Cole and then finds Wes tied up, taking him prisoner.

On the way back to town, Rela slips in a waterfall and nearly drowns. Wes saves her life. Ashamed of his ways, Wes offers to ride back to town alongside Rela to turn himself in to the law and accept his fate and asks Rela to wait for him.



  1. ^ 'The Top Box Office Hits of 1953', Variety, January 13, 1954

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