6.7/10
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28 user 8 critic

Hangman's Knot (1952)

Approved | | Romance, Western | 15 November 1952 (USA)
A Confederate Major and his troops are falsely led to believe the Civil War is not over, and become wanted men after they attack a Union Army wagon train in Nevada.

Director:

Roy Huggins

Writer:

Roy Huggins
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Randolph Scott ... Major Matt Stewart
Donna Reed ... Molly Hull
Claude Jarman Jr. ... Jamie Groves
Frank Faylen ... Cass Browne
Glenn Langan ... Capt. Petersen
Richard Denning ... Lee Kemper
Lee Marvin ... Rolph Bainter
Jeanette Nolan ... Mrs. Margaret Harris
Clem Bevans ... Plunkett, the Station agent
Ray Teal ... Quincey
Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams ... Smitty
Monte Blue ... Maxwell
John Call John Call ... Egan Walsh
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Storyline

In 1865, a troop of Confederate soldiers led by Major Matt Stewart attack the wagon of gold escorted by Union cavalry and the soldiers are killed. The only wounded survivor tells that the war ended one month ago, and the group decides to take the gold and meet their liaison that knew that the war ended but did not inform the troop. The harsh Rolph Bainter kills the greedy man and the soldiers flee in his wagon driven by Major Stewart. When they meet a posse chasing them, Stewart gives wrong information to misguide the group; however, they have an accident with the wagon and lose the horses. They decide to stop a stagecoach and force the driver to transport them, but the posse returns and they are trapped in the station with the passenger. They realize that the men are not deputies and have no intention to bring them to justice but take the stolen gold. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The West's Most Spectacular Star--in His Most Spectacular Story! See more »

Genres:

Romance | Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 November 1952 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Outlanders See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$1,250,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although Roy Huggins was blacklisted (for being a former member of the Communist party), he still was able to sell and direct "Hangman's Knot" under his own name. Producers Randolph Scott & Harry Joe Brown bought and let Roy direct it for Columbia Pictures. It was a financial success. See more »

Goofs

During the gold robbery, there is an obvious dummy 'driving' the wagon just before the mules separate from it. See more »

Quotes

Lee Kemper: You got 'em confused.
[Lee laughs]
Lee Kemper: They'll a-find out though and get their hands on it, there ain't gonna be nobody left alive in here to tell. You got any plans?
Major Matt Stewart: Mm-hmm. We go out shooting.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Hollywood Remembers Lee Marvin (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Scott's best prior to Budd Boetticher
8 December 2006 | by clore_2See all my reviews

1952 saw the Columbia release of one of Scott's best - Hangman's Knot.

They don't come much more taut than this, and its success only brings into question as to why director Roy Huggins never made another film as director. This one really begins to approach the later Boetticher films, being set in an isolated way station, as several of Budd's films happened to be, with Randy as a Confederate officer, who has stolen Union gold, not knowing the war is over.

Outlaws, learning of the loot, besiege the soldiers at the way station, but just as much danger comes from within - the menacing soldier played by Lee Marvin. The cast is better than those in the then most recent Scott vehicles, including Donna Reed, Claude Jarman, Jr., Richard Denning and Guinn "Big Boy Williams. Randy's son C.H. Scott, in the book "Whatever Happened to Randolph Scott" speaks fondly of Donna Reed, as if she was a second mother, and says that she and his father never lost touch over the years, and were devoted to each other.

Omitting the Boetticher films, this one is clearly the strongest Scott offering of the 1950s. That Huggins never directed a feature film again (he did direct a 1970 TV movie) is more our loss than his. Huggins did quite well in the long run, with items like Maverick, Rockford Files and The Fugitive in his future.

With much of the film set within the way station, Huggins manages to keep the tension high as Scott has to deal with the group of bounty hunters outside (led by Ray Teal in a rousing performance) and the wayward loose cannon Ralph, the Lee Marvin character. Lee must have impressed producer Scott as he got a much showier role in the first Scott-Boetticher classic SEVEN MEN FROM NOW. Meanwhile, Scott must serve as surrogate big brother of Claude Jarman Jr, no longer the little boy of THE YEARLING and in fact nearly as tall as the film's lead star.

Richard Denning also impresses in his part as Donna Reed's fiancée, a character as weak-willed as the fiancée in the later Boetticher film THE TALL T. At first willing to call attention to an attempted escape by Scott and company (despite giving his word otherwise), he later bargains to give them an alternate plan of escape - in exchange for two bars of the captured gold.

My favorite of Scott's 50's westerns prior to his Boetticher films and dollar for dollar, the equal of many much bigger budgeted items from the likes of Wayne and Cooper.


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