West of the Pecos (1945 film)

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West of the Pecos
Directed by Edward Killy
Produced by Sid Rogel
Herman Schlom
Written by Zane Grey (novel)
Norma Houston (screenplay)
Starring Robert Mitchum
Barbara Hale
Music by Paul Sawtell
Cinematography Harry J. Wild
Edited by Roland Gross
Distributed by RKO Radio Pictures
Release date
  • August 11, 1945 (1945-08-11) (U.S.)[1]
Running time
66 minutes
Country United States
Language English

West of the Pecos is a 1945 American Western film directed by Edward Killy and starring Robert Mitchum and Barbara Hale. The movie is the second film version of Zane Grey's novel, previously made in 1934 and also titled West of the Pecos starring Richard Dix. It is no relation to the 1922 silent film of the same name.


Colonel Lambreth's health is poor, so daughter Rill persuades him to leave his Chicago meat-packing business behind and move to their Texas cattle ranch. Her fiancé, lawyer Clyde Corbin, stays behind.

On the trail, a couple of cowboys, Pecos Smith and sidekick Chito Rafferty, pull up to demand driver Tex Evans pay their back wages. After they ride off, the stagecoach is attacked by bandits. Circling back, the cowboys are told by the mortally wounded Tex that he was shot by Sam Sawtelle.

The stage proceeds to town with Jeff Slinger at the reins. Rill, harassed in town, tucks her hair into her hat and disguises herself as a boy to be left alone.

Brad Sawtelle, brother of Sam, organizes a posse of vigilantes to find Tex's killer. Pecos gets to Sam first and shoots him.

The colonel and Rill get lost en route to their ranch. Pecos and Chito assist them and are offered jobs. Chito tries to woo the Lambreths' maid, Suzanne, but where Rill is concerned, Pecos still doesn't know she's a woman. Corbin comes to Texas and senses that Rill is now in love with someone else.

Brad and his men believe Pecos to be an accomplice in the stagecoach robbery and murder. Pecos proves that the one responsible was Slinger, who is shot dead by Brad. A marshal places Brad under arrest and Rill and Pecos finally get to know each other better.



The film was popular and earned $151,000 in profits. It was Mitchum's final job before his service in the army.[2]


  1. ^ "West of the Pecos: Detail View". American Film Institute. Retrieved April 28, 2014. 
  2. ^ Richard Jewell & Vernon Harbin, The RKO Story. New Rochelle, New York: Arlington House, 1982. p203

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