The Burning Hills

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The Burning Hills
The Burning Hills.jpg
Original film poster
Directed by Stuart Heisler
Produced by Richard Whorf
Written by Louis L'Amour (novel)
Irving Wallace
Starring Tab Hunter
Natalie Wood
Skip Homeier
Eduard Franz
Claude Akins
Earl Holliman
Music by David Buttolph
Cinematography Ted D. McCord
Edited by Clarence Kolster
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release date
  • August 23, 1956 (1956-08-23)
Running time
94 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $1.5 million (US)[1]

The Burning Hills is a 1956 Warner Bros. CinemaScope Western based on a 1956 novel by Louis L'Amour. The film features young stars popular with the teenagers of the time such as Tab Hunter and Natalie Wood and has a strong emphasis on the importance of tracking.


When Trace Jordan's brother is murdered and several of their horses stolen, Trace sees by the tracks that three men are involved. One man wears Mexican spurs, one walks with a limp, and one smokes cheroots. Upon arriving in the town of Esperanza, Trace sees a destroyed sheriff's office and discovers the only law in Esperanza is Joe Sutton. He also discovers that the stolen horses have been rebranded with the Sutton brand, and their riders who match the description of their tracks work for Sutton. Trace enters Joe Sutton's (Ray Teal) ranch and wounds him in a shooting.

The enraged Sutton sends his son Jack (Skip Homeier), his foreman Ben (Claude Akins) and ten ranch hands to track down Trace before he goes to an Army fort to bring law to Esperanza. Wounded in his escape, Trace is helped by courageous half Mexican woman named Maria Colton (Natalie Wood). Unable to locate the hidden Trace, Joe Sutton enlists a half Indian tracker Jacob Lantz (Eduard Franz).


Louis L'Amour says he wrote the novel for Gary Cooper and Katy Jurado.[2]


  1. ^ 'The Top Box-Office Hits of 1956', Variety Weekly, January 2, 1957
  2. ^ Don'ts for Horse Operas Stressed: Write for the Experts, Says Best-Selling Louis L'Amour Scheuer, Philip K. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 01 July 1958: C9.

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