Three Violent People
|Three Violent People|
|Directed by||Rudolph Maté|
|Produced by||Hugh Brown|
James Edward Grant
|Music by||Walter Scharf|
|Edited by||Alma Macrorie|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Box office||$1.2 million (US rentals)|
Former Confederate cavalryman Capt. Colt Saunders comes home to Texas from the war. Carpetbaggers have taken control of his town, including a corrupt Yankee tax commissioner named Harrison and his deputy Cable. When he sees a Yankee insult a Southern belle named Lorna Hunter, the gallant Colt comes to her aid. He isn't aware of her past as a St. Louis dance-hall girl (prostitute) or her devious golddigging nature. Colt is knocked cold and Lorna takes him back to his room, where she steals $900 from him. Her former employer, saloon owner Ruby LaSalle, lets her know that Colt is a wealthy rancher, so Lorna hatches a scheme. She returns his missing $900 and impresses him with her "honesty." Colt falls in love and marries her.
His ranch, the Bar S, has fallen on hard times. Loyal grand vaquero Innocencio Ortega, who looked out for the spread with his five sons while Colt was off to war, says that Yankees have been rustling their horses with no intervention by the law. Harrison is using a usurious tax law passed by the provisional government to seize all the large ranches in the district. Colt's black sheep brother, nicknamed Cinch, shows up to claim a share of the ranch. Cinch is not trustworthy, but Colt has felt obligated to him since a childhood accident when he lost an arm. Cinch is allowed to help run the ranch.
Lorna comes to love Colt but one of Harrison's minions, Massey, recognizes her from her days in St. Louis. Harrison and Cable serve Colt a writ for $16,000 in newly assessed taxes. They plot to have Massey insult Lorna so that they can shoot Colt when he goes to defend her. Innocencio and his sons foil the plot but a disillusioned Colt orders Lorna to leave, throwing her gold coins in "payment for services rendered." Cinch grabs the opportunity to make off with a hidden herd of valuable horses Colt needs to pay the taxes, enlisting the embittered Lorna to help him.
Colt tracks them down, sending Lorna back to the Bar S and warning Cinch to never set foot on the ranch again. Innocencio tells him that Lorna is pregnant and Colt offers her the value of his horses if she agrees to stay and give birth, leaving the child with him. Meanwhile, Cinch goes to Harrison proposing to kill Colt for him and grab control of the Bar S as partners. On the sly, Harrison and Cable plot to also murder Cinch, Lorna and everyone else at the ranch who could be a witness.
Colt and Innocencio have a falling out over his treatment of Lorna and the foreman prepares to leave with his sons. Lorna gives Colt the child as agreed but refuses to accept the offered bribe. Cinch returns, planning to provoke Colt into a gunfight. Things don't go according to plan, and when Harrison and his gang arrive, Cinch and Cable shoot each other in the fight that ensues. Harrison and Massey are also killed. Afterwards, Colt has a change of heart and reconciles with Lorna.
- Charlton Heston as Colt Saunders
- Anne Baxter as Lorna Saunders, née Hunter
- Tom Tryon as Beauregard 'Cinch' Saunders
- Bruce Bennett as Commissioner Harrison
- Forrest Tucker as Deputy Commissioner Cable
- Gilbert Roland as Innocencio Ortega
- Elaine Stritch as Ruby LaSalle
- "Top Grosses of 1957", Variety, 8 January 1958: 30