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"The West's worst killers strike again!" read the advertising tagline for Badman's Territory (1946), a Randolph Scott Western in which Jesse James' gang, the Daltons, and other notorious types end up in the same lawless area.
A U.S. marshal chases these bad guys into "No Man's Land," where the U.S. Government has no jurisdiction. Scott plays Sheriff Mark Rowley, whose search for his wounded younger brother leads to the James boys, and to involvement in a move to bring law to the area by annexing it with Oklahoma.
Scott, making his transition to full-time cowboy star after a decade of playing all-purpose leading men, would soon become a leading box-office attraction with his unaffected portrayal of stoic Western heroes.
Among the supporting cast of Badman's Territory is Ben Johnson, who would later come into his own as a fixture in Hollywood Westerns and an Oscar®-winner for The Last Picture Show (1971). Here, however, his work as a member of the marshal's posse goes uncredited, and he suffers an ignominious exit from the film. In a scene shot on location, Johnson is seen entering a building with the marshal and another deputy. In the ensuing interior shot, filmed at the studio, the other two men stride through the door but Johnson is nowhere to be seen and never reappears.
Producers: Nat Holt, Jack J. Gross (Executive Producer)
Director: Tim Whelan
Screenplay: Jack Natteford, Luci Ward, Bess Taffel, Clarence Upson Young
Cinematography: Robert De Grasse
Art Direction: Albert S. D'Agostino, Walter E. Keller
Original Music: Roy Webb
Editing: Philip Martin
Costume Design: Renie
Principal Cast: Randolph Scott (Sheriff Mark Rowley), Ann Richards (Henryetta Alcott), George "Gabby" Hayes (The Coyote Kid), Ray Collins (Colonel Farewell), Lawrence Tierney (Jesse James).
BW-95m. Closed captioning.
by Roger Fristoe