The Man from Laramie
|The Man from Laramie|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Anthony Mann|
|Produced by||William Goetz|
|Screenplay by||Philip Yordan
|Based on||"The Man from Laramie"
serial, first published in The Saturday Evening Post in 1954
by Thomas T. Flynn
|Music by||George Duning
|Edited by||William Lyon|
William Goetz Productions
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Box office||$3.3 million (US)|
Written by Philip Yordan and Frank Burt, the film is about a stranger who defies a local cattle baron and his sadistic son by working for one of his oldest rivals. The film was adapted from a story of the same title by Thomas T. Flynn, first published in The Saturday Evening Post in 1954, and thereafter as a novel in 1955.
The Man from Laramie was one of the first Westerns to be filmed in CinemaScope to capture the vastness of the scenery. The film was also shot in Technicolor. This is the fifth and final Western collaboration between Anthony Mann and James Stewart.
The movie's theme song of the same name, written by Lester Lee and Ned Washington, was recorded in the United States by Al Martino and in the United Kingdom by Jimmy Young. Young's version topped the UK Singles Chart for four weeks in October 1955, while Martino's version (which did not chart in the U.S.) stalled at Number 19 that September.
Will Lockhart (James Stewart) becomes entangled in the happenings of Coronado, an isolated western town, after delivering supplies there from Laramie. He immediately ends up at odds with the Waggomans, an influential ranching family. Lockhart is quietly searching for information about someone selling repeating rifles to the local Apaches; his brother, a green Army Lieutenant, was killed in an Apache attack at Dutch Creek.
Cattle baron Alec Waggoman (Donald Crisp) is haunted by dreams of a stranger who intends to kill his son. He is also gradually losing his eyesight and cannot count on his son Dave (Alex Nicol), an immature, vicious and arrogant man who refuses to learn how to run the ranch the way his father wants it done.
Lockhart is told by Barbara Waggoman (Cathy O'Donnell), Alec's niece, that he can collect salt for free and haul it away for freight but Dave Waggoman accuses him of stealing, shoots six of Lockhart's mules and burns his three wagons. Lockhart returns to town, engages first Dave and then ranch foreman Vic Hansbro (Arthur Kennedy) in a fistfight. Alec Waggoman shows up and offers Lockhart restitution for his lost property.
Vic considers himself a second son to Alec and is engaged to marry Barbara Waggoman. But when push comes to shove, Alec sides with his son, being a blood relative. Alec holds Vic responsible for the damage Dave caused to Lockhart's wagons and mules (for which the old man paid $600 in restitution) and threatens to withhold it from Vic's pay. After this confrontation, Vic rides after Dave and catches him trying to contact the Apaches to sell them another two hundred repeating rifles for which the Apaches have paid in advance. Vic shoots Dave (in self defense) and then lets Alec believe that Lockhart was responsible.
Lockhart takes refuge with a rival rancher, Kate Canady (Aline MacMahon), who wishes she and Waggoman could declare a truce. Alec goes over some old bills and finds a bill for wire fence that is very overpriced. He suspects that it conceals a rifle purchase and sets out to discover for himself whether it was true that his son Dave was involved in selling rifles to the Apaches. Vic attempts to talk him out of it, but the old man is determined to find out the truth. Just before he reaches the wagon, Vic and he scuffle and he is accidentally pushed off his horse and down a hill. Assuming the old man is dead, Vic rides away.
Lockhart finds Alec and takes him to Kate to tend to his wounds. Vic is anxious because Alec Waggoman is still alive and can identify him. Alec tells Will that it was Dave who was selling the Indians rifles and who therefore was responsible for the death of Will's brother. Lockhart finds Vic using a smoke signal to call for the Apaches to come for their rifles. Lockhart is unable to shoot him down in cold blood, but forces Vic to help him push the wagon off the hilltop and destroy the rifles. Vic rides away but is attacked and killed by the band of Apaches who paid for the rifles.
Lockhart leaves town, but admits to Barbara Waggoman that he is Captain Lockhart, a cavalry officer in the U.S. Army. Barbara intends to leave Coronado and head back east. Lockhart tells her she will be passing through Laramie on the way and to ask anyone where to find Captain Lockhart.
- James Stewart as Will Lockhart
- Arthur Kennedy as Vic Hansbro
- Donald Crisp as Alec Waggoman
- Cathy O'Donnell as Barbara Waggoman
- Alex Nicol as Dave Waggoman
- Aline MacMahon as Kate Canady
- Wallace Ford as Charley O'Leary
- Jack Elam as Chris Boldt
- James Millican as Sheriff Tom Quigby
- Frank DeKova as Padre
- Eddy Waller as Dr. Selden (uncredited)
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