The Baron of Arizona

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The Baron of Arizona
Poster of the movie The Baron of Arizona.jpg
Directed by Samuel Fuller
Produced by Carl Hittleman
Written by Homer Croy
Samuel Fuller
Starring Vincent Price
Ellen Drew
Vladimir Sokoloff
Beulah Bondi
Reed Hadley
Music by Paul Dunlap
Cinematography James Wong Howe
Distributed by Lippert Pictures
Release date
March 4, 1950 (US)
Running time
97 min.
Language English
Budget $135,000[1]

The Baron of Arizona is a 1950 film by Samuel Fuller and starring Vincent Price.

The film concerns a master forger's attempted use of false documents to lay claim to the territory of Arizona late in the 19th century. It is based on the case of James Reavis,[2] whose scheme came close to success, but many of the film's details are fictionalized.


The notorious attempt by swindler James Reavis to claim the entire territory of Arizona as his own before it was granted statehood in 1912 is recounted years later by John Griff, who works for the Department of the Interior.

In 1872, Reavis went to great lengths to forge documents in Spain and create the illusion that he had a legal right to claim all of Arizona his own. He began by seeking out Pepito Alvarez to inquire about Sofia, an infant abandoned by Reavis many years before.

Reavis decides to take Sofia home with him, hire governess Lorna Morales to refine her, then marry her, using fabricated proof that identifies Sofia as the rightful "baroness" of Arizona. A suspicious U.S. government, unable to disprove Reavis' claim, offers him $25 million for the rights to the land. He declines.

The surveyor general, Miller, is sure Reavis has somehow doctored the documents. He brings in Griff, an expert on forgery. In the meantime, Reavis orders settlers and families off "his" land. A displaced rancher, Lansing, tosses a bomb into Reavis' office. It still does not discourage him, so Pepito finally threatens to reveal that Sofia's parents were not Spanish land barons at all, but native Indians.

Reavis is revealed as a charlatan. He manages to talk his way out of a lynching, but ends up behind bars.


Production and release[edit]

Robert L. Lippert spent $100,000 to promote the film. The film was shot in 15 days and a print is preserved by the Museum of Modern Art.


  1. ^ Goodman, Ezra (February 28, 1965). "Low-Budget Movies With POW!; Most fans never heard of director Sam Fuller, but to some film buffs he has real class". New York Times. 
  2. ^ "Film Tells of Arizona Baron". Wichita Daily Times. March 26, 1950. 

External links[edit]