The Last Sunset (film)

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The Last Sunset
The Last Sunset - Film Poster.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed by Robert Aldrich
Produced by Eugene Frenke, Edward Lewis
Written by Howard Rigsby (novel Sundown at Crazy Horse), Dalton Trumbo
Starring Rock Hudson
Kirk Douglas
Dorothy Malone
Joseph Cotten
Carol Lynley
Music by Ernest Gold, Tomás Méndez (song "Cu Cu Ru Cu Paloma")
Cinematography Ernest Laszlo
Edited by Michael Luciano
Brynaprod S.A.
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date
  • June 7, 1961 (1961-06-07) (United States)
Running time
112 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $3 million[1] or $3.5 million[2]
Box office 1,655,692 admissions (France)[3]

The Last Sunset is a 1961 American Western film directed by Robert Aldrich and starring Rock Hudson, Kirk Douglas, and Dorothy Malone.

The film was released by Universal Studios and shot in Eastman color in Mexico. The screenplay by Dalton Trumbo was adapted from Howard Rigsby's 1957 novel Sundown at Crazy Horse.

The supporting cast features Joseph Cotten, Carol Lynley, Neville Brand and Jack Elam.

Plot summary[edit]

Brendan O'Malley (Douglas) crosses the border into Mexico to escape justice for a murder. He arrives at the ranch of a former lover, Belle Breckenridge (Malone) and her husband, the drunkard and coward John Breckenridge (Joseph Cotten).

O'Malley meets her daughter Melissa (Carol Lynley). He is immediately attracted to Missy, who reminds him of Belle when they were lovers years ago. Breckenridge, meanwhile, hires O'Malley to drive his herd to Texas.

Sheriff Dana Stribling (Hudson) is pursuing O'Malley. He arrives at the ranch to serve a warrant for the murder of his brother-in-law.

Stribling does not have jurisdiction to arrest O'Malley in Mexico so he also agrees to join the cattle drive to Texas. He promises to deliver O'Malley to the law upon their arrival.

During the cattle drive some former Confederates confront Breckenridge in a bar and accuse him of cowardice during a battle in the Civil War. Although Stribling and O'Malley team up to try and save Breckenridge's life, Breckinridge is shot in the back and killed trying to leave the bar. Stribling and O'Malley respond by shooting the man who shot Breckinridge, and then bury Breckinridge back at the cattle drive camp.

Along the journey, Stribling and Belle become attracted to each other and plan to marry, and O'Malley and Missy fall in love, increasing the tension between the sheriff and the outlaw.

On the eve of the showdown between the two men, Belle discloses the secret that Missy is the daughter of O'Malley and their incestuous love cannot continue. At the gunfight, O'Malley faces the sheriff with an unloaded gun, effectively committing suicide.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Alain Silver and James Ursini, Whatever Happened to Robert Aldrich?, Limelight, 1995 p 255
  2. ^ Scheuer, P. K. (1961, Jul 25). How low-budget is low budget today? Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  3. ^ French box office results for Robert Aldrich films at Box Office Story

External links[edit]