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Bad Lands (1939)

Passed | | Action, Drama, Western | 28 August 1939 (USA)
A posse of nine and Sheriff Bill Cummings set out after a renegade named Apache Jack, who has murdered the wife of Lopez, one of the posse members. The others are Rayburn, Chic Lyman, Billy... See full summary »


Lew Landers


Clarence Upson Young (story), Clarence Upson Young (screenplay)


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Complete credited cast:
Robert Barrat ... Sheriff Bill Cummings
Noah Beery Jr. ... Chick Lyman
Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams ... Billy Sweet (as Guinn Williams)
Andy Clyde ... Henry Cluff
Paul Hurst ... Curly Tom
Robert Coote ... Eaton
Addison Richards ... Rayburn
Douglas Walton ... Bob Mulford
Francis Ford ... Charlie Garth
Francis McDonald ... Manuel Lopez


A posse of nine and Sheriff Bill Cummings set out after a renegade named Apache Jack, who has murdered the wife of Lopez, one of the posse members. The others are Rayburn, Chic Lyman, Billy Sweet, Bob Mulford, Curley Tom, Eaton, Garth and an old prospector named Cluff. Apache Jack leads them into Indian country where they come across an oasis in a gully wash. They not only find water but also a natural of vein of silver. Sheriff Cummings prevents any of them from returning to town to file a mining claim. The next morning, Eaton is missing and all of the horses are gone. Then Cluff is killed in an ambush. The posse is trapped by an unseen enemy. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


GUNBLAZE GLORY! SCREAMING INDIANS! SILVER!...to avenge a woman---ten desperate men plunged through the molten desert! See more »


Action | Drama | Western


Passed | See all certifications »






Release Date:

28 August 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Jagd auf Apachen-Jack See more »

Filming Locations:

Mount Whitney, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Leading man John Payne is often mistakenly credited as playing the bit part of Apache Jack in this film. It is not he. The role is played by Jack Payne, whose only known film this was. John Payne was far too well known by 1939 to play a bit part without dialog in a B-Western. See more »


One of the characters refers to the ten of spades as the death card. Most card readers/ fortune tellers refer to the ace of spades as the death card. The ten of spades is most often interpreted as indicating a journey (though, to be fair, death could be seen as a journey). See more »


Bob Mulford: Hey, Sweet, what are the Dragoons?
Billy Sweet: For a veteran plainsman, you ain't very smart are you?
Bob Mulford: Oh, I've never been very far west.
Billy Sweet: Well, they're sort of a practicing ground for the hereafter. They're supposed to be mountains, but they're really the wrong place turned inside out.
See more »


Version of The Lost Patrol (1934) See more »

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User Reviews

A Rare Showcase for the Supporting Actors
31 March 2015 | by robertguttmanSee all my reviews

"Bad Lands" is one of those rare movies that features no big-name actors in the cast ("The Mask of Demetrius" comes to mind as another example). That is not to say that the cast is composed of unknown actors or amateurs. Instead, the entire cast is made up of actors with well-known faces that appeared in hundreds of films, though usually in supporting roles. However, it is probably just as well that no well-known star, such as John Wayne or Randolph Scott, was placed at the head of this cast, because their presence would only have served to overbalance things, and ruin the ensemble nature of the story.

Yes, it is granted that "Bad Lands" is a western redo of John Ford's famous 1934 film, "The Lost Patrol". The basic plot of "The Lost Patrol", which is so well known that it scarcely needs mention, seems to have been a favorite source for story-lines in Hollywood in those days, and particularly during the early days of World War II, when it was recycled in such films as "Bataan" and "Sahara". And yes, it is granted that "Bad Lands" was produced as a relatively low-budget B-picture, and was further handicapped by being limited to a running time of only a little over an hour. Nevertheless, it is definitely a very superior B-picture, and one of the better re- hashes of the now-cliché "The Lost Patrol" story, which was not yet regarded as so much of a cliché in 1939.

Like a lot of movies produced during the 1930s, "Bad Lands" would never be remade today in the same form because it would be regarded as far too politically incorrect. The "Native Americans" are depicted unequivocally as bad guys, and the only "Latino" in the cast is depicted as being off his head (although the fact that his wife had recently been raped and murdered by the bad guy does provide a plausible excuse for his madness). It is also interesting to note that there are no women in the cast, a comparative rarity even in those days, and something the producers would never be permitted to get away with today. In addition, not one of the cast is African American, something else the producers would never be permitted to get away with today.

Although "Bad Lands" is ostensibly an ensemble production, the leader of the cast is played by Robert Barrat, a veteran actor who portrayed a side variety of different types of characters in hundreds of films from the 1910s to the 1960s. Ironically, perhaps his best-remembered performance was in the titular title-role of the well-known 1936 movie version of "The Last of the Mohicans", in which he portrayed a "Native-American".

"Bad Lands" may not be the best or most famous of Western movies, but is better than most, and is still worth a look. This may have been a "B" picture, but it definitely rates as a "B-Plus".

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