Passage West (1951 film)

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Passage West
Directed by Lewis R. Foster
Produced by William H. Pine
William C. Thomas
Written by Lewis R. Foster
Nedrick Young
(as a front for "Hollywood Ten" author Alvah Bessie)
Starring John Payne
Dennis O'Keefe
Arleen Whelan
Music by Mahlon Merrick
Cinematography Loyal Griggs
Edited by Howard A. Smith
Paramount Pictures
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date
  • July 1951 (1951-07) (United States)
  • August 30, 1951 (1951-08-30) (New York City)
Running time
80 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $1,025,000 (US rentals)[1]

Passage West is a 1951 American Technicolor Western film directed by Lewis R. Foster starring John Payne, Dennis O'Keefe and Arleen Whelan.[2]


Six convicts led by Pete Black pull a Utah prison break. They intercept a California-bound wagon train and interrupt a child's funeral. Demanding the wagons leave immediately, they anger Rose Billings, a woman in a black dress mourning her father, but wagon train leader Jacob Karns, a preacher who plans to marry Rose, thinks it best to obey the men.

Curly, one of the prisoners, makes a pass at Rose and is whipped by Pete. He fancies the woman for himself, but Rose picks up the whip and uses it on him. Pete is not so much irate as impressed.

At a fork on the trail, Pete insists the wagons risk a faster but more dangerous route. Soon they are trapped in dust and rain storms. A cow dies, and without milk, a baby dies. Rose changes clothes to something more frilly, feeling it time for her mourning to end, but when Pete shows an interest in her, Karns fights and defeats him.

Curly steals money from the travelers and shoots Pete, who is surprised when Karns and Rose willingly tend to his wound. Karns admits that he once led a wild life the way Pete now does. He appeals to Pete to change.

Reaching a town, the fugitives discover gold in a cave and their greed gets the best of them. Gunfire ensues, and Pete, guilty and tired, sets off a charge of dynamite to bury all of his men as well as himself.



  1. ^ 'The Top Box Office Hits of 1951', Variety, January 2, 1952
  2. ^ Passage West at TCMDB

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