Ride a Crooked Trail

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Ride a Crooked Trail
Poster of the movie Ride a Crooked Trail.jpg
Directed by Jesse Hibbs
Produced by Howard Pine
Written by George Bruce (story)
Borden Chase
Starring Audie Murphy
Gia Scala
Walter Matthau
Music by Joseph Gershenson
Cinematography Harold Lipstein
Edited by Edward Curtiss
Distributed by Universal-International
Release dates
  • 1958 (1958)
Running time
87 min.
Country United States
Language English

Ride a Crooked Trail is a 1958 American western film shot in CinemaScope, with former World War II hero Audie Murphy and future Academy Award winning actor Walter Matthau heading a strong if not well-known cast.[1]


During his escape, bank robber Joe Maybe (Audie Murphy) sees famous US Marshal Jim Noonan, who is searching for him, stumble and fall off a cliff to his death. He enters a town on the dead man's horse, where he is mistaken for Noonan. Maybe decides to hide behind the badge for a while, but soon raises the suspicions of the local law enforcer, Judge Kyle (Walter Matthau). His real identity is nearly blown when the riverboat brings to town Tessa Milott (Gia Scala), a past acquaintance of Maybe's who calls him by his surname in front of the judge. Thinking quickly, Joe says she called him "Baby," and did this because she is his wife.

She must now pretend she is his wife to avoid further scrutiny from Kyle, but this in turn causes problems with her current boyfriend, bandit leader Sam Teeler (Henry Silva). The "couple" moves into a house and are well respected in town, although their secrecy is nearly compromised by a young orphan boy who expects "the marshal and his wife" to adopt him. Tessa struggles between her loyalty to her real criminal boyfriend and her growing feelings for Maybe, but each man wants to rob the town's bank.



The film was mostly filmed on the Universal backlot with some location shooting at the Janss Conejo Ranch in Thousand Oaks, California. During filming, Gia Scala learned her mother was dying of cancer and only had three months to live; the day after she heard the news, Scala was involved in a car accident caused by her drinking and driving.[2]

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