Cast & Crew
After the Civil War, the Dallas area of Texas is terrorized by brothers Will, Cullen and Bryant Marlow. When they steal cattle owned by his family, Felipe Robles warns the Marlows that he has sent for a United States Marshal. Martin Weatherby, a greenhorn from the North, is the marshal assigned to the area. On its way to Dallas, Martin's stage stops in a town where he witnesses Wild Bill Hickock kill Blayde "Reb" Hollister, a former colonel in the Confederate army, who is now wanted by the law. Martin soon learns that the shooting was a ruse to allow Reb, who is determined to accompany him to Dallas, to be free of prosecution. Although Reb does not reveal this to Martin, the Marlows destroyed his family home in Georgia during the war, and he is now determined to exact revenge. Reb changes clothes and identities with Martin, who reveals that his only reason for going to Texas is that he wanted to impress Tonia Robles, his fiancée. When they arrive at the Robles ranch, Reb introduces Martin as his brother, and they take Tonia into their confidence. In town, Reb, pretending to be Martin, tells Will Marlow that his enemy, Reb Hollister, is dead. Reb then offers to buy a building in town which will be used as a town hall. While they are talking, Bryant, wanting the money that Reb offers for the building, shoots Walters, who owns the best building in town. Bryant's shots attract Reb, who then kills Cullen, but is wounded by Bryant. Will acts horrified and pretends to disown his brother, while Bryant flees to a hideout. Bryant orders his mistress, Flo, to pose as Mrs. Walters and lure Reb to the hideout. Reb dissuades Bryant from shooting him, however, pointing out that the money for the building would not be available if he is dead and cannot remove it from the bank. When Reb leaves the hideout, he is followed by Bryant and his men. Reb separates Bryant from his men, and hangs him by his feet from a tree. Then Reb publicly accuses Will of being in league with Bryant, thereby forcing him to post a reward for the capture of his brother, dead or alive. Reb sends a copy of the wanted poster to Bryant's hideout, but while he is waiting for Bryant to come after Will, a stranger in town recognizes him. Will overhears their conversation and runs away. Reb manages to kill Bryant, but before he dies, he tells Reb that Will gave the order to burn Reb's house to the ground. Reb follows Will to Fort Worth, but before he arrives, Will organizes a posse to capture Reb, who is still wanted. While Reb is in jail, Will's men attack the Robles ranch, demanding a large sum of money from Robles. Reb escapes from jail and heads for the ranch, followed by the posse. The posse and Will's men shoot it out and Reb corners Will, strangling him. When everything is over, Martin hands Reb the pardon he obtained for him. Tonia and Reb, who have fallen in love, decide to marry, and Martin, who has lost his fiancée, announces that he will build a railroad to the now peaceful town of Dallas.
Jay "slim" Talbot
Hal K. Dawson
O. Z. Whitehead
Robert "buddy" Shaw
B. Reeves Eason
Oliver S. Garretson
Dallas (1950) may be one of Gary Cooper's lesser-known Westerns, but it remains of interest today for Cooper's performance as Blayde Hollister, its intriguing supporting cast, and its strong Technicolor photography by Ernest Haller. For good measure, the historical figure of Wild Bill Hickok (played by Reed Hadley) makes an appearance as one of Hollister's allies. The film historian Bruce Chadwick considers Dallas one of the best films about the ongoing tensions between the North and the South after the Civil War and the subsequent process of reconciliation. (The character Hollister's nickname is "Reb," in case there is any question about which side he fought on.)
While Cooper's stoicism certainly suits the role, in fact he was not the first choice as Hollister. Errol Flynn, Robert Ryan and Robert Mitchum were all considered for the lead. Tonia Robles, Hollister's love interest, is played by Ruth Roman. At the time of production (May-June 1950), she was 27 and Gary Cooper was 49. When the film was released newspaper ads played up the romance angle with tag lines such as "When Texas was a powder keg - they lit the fuse!" and "You'll remember big Reb and his Border Lady." Of Polish-Russian origin, Roman also appeared in notable films such as the boxing drama Champion (1949), Alfred Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train (1951) and Anthony Mann's The Far Country (1954). She later performed mostly on television.
The villain Bryant Marlow is played by the beefy Steve Cochran, who gained notoriety as a hard-living ladies' man. The year before, he made his reputation as Big Ed Somers in White Heat (1949) and even played a Klansman in Storm Warning (1950). Later he established his own production company, Robert Alexander Productions, and helped produce two of his most interesting films, Come Next Spring (1956) and Michelangelo Antonioni's Il Grido (1957). He spent the latter part of his career acting on television, and died unexpectedly of a pulmonary infection in 1965 while sailing off the coast of Guatemala with a bevy of young women. Bryant's girl Flo is played by Barbara Payton, a starlet who later wrote the scandalous tell-all autobiography I Am Not Ashamed (1963), about her affairs in Hollywood and her eventual decline into alcoholism and prostitution. Bryant Marlow's brother Will, the slick businessman and silent partner in crime, is played by the veteran Raymond Massey.
But the true veteran in the film is surely Antonio Moreno. Originally from Spain, he had worked in the film industry since the early 1910s. Some of his earliest roles were in D. W. Griffith Biograph shorts, including The Musketeers of Pig Alley (1912). The handsome young actor later played leading roles opposite Greta Garbo in The Temptress (1926) and Clara Bow in It (1927). During the 1930s, Moreno made a number of Spanish language versions of Universal and Fox productions, and later played in Mexican films as well. One of his very last roles was in John Ford's The Searchers (1956).
Dallas received good, but not stellar reviews upon its initial release in December 1950-January 1951. John L. Scott of the Los Angeles Times admired the film's "well staged" action sequences and also liked Massey and Cochran as the Marlow brothers. As for Ruth Roman, he wrote, "Her role as a decorous young woman doesn't give much chance to fire up, but she's gorgeous in the period costumes." In his review for the New York Times, Bosley Crowther appreciated the film mainly as an entertaining, if slight, Western that offered viewers the opportunity to see Gary Cooper being Gary Cooper. He wrote, "Stuart Heisler's direction is not outstanding, but he kept his cameras going when the horses were on the run."
Producer: Anthony Veiller
Director: Stuart Heisler
Script: John Twist
Director of Photography: Ernest Haller
Art Director: Douglas Bacon
Film Editor: Clarence Kolster
Music: Max Steiner
Cast: Gary Cooper (Blayde "Reb" Holllister); Ruth Roman (Tonia Robles); Steve Cochran (Bryant Marlow), Raymond Massey (Will Marlow), Barbara Payton (Flo), Leif Erickson (Martin Weatherby), Antonio Moreno (Felipe Robles), Jerome Cowan (Matt Coulter), Reed Hadley (Wild Bill Hickok), Gil Donaldson (Luis).
by James Steffen
Chadwick, Bruce. The Reel Civil War: Mythmaking in American Film. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2001.
Crowther, Bosley. "The Screen in Review." (Review of Dallas.) New York Times, January 13, 1951.
Scott, John L. "Those Wide, Open Spaces Welcome a Favorite Son," Los Angeles Times, December 25, 1950.
According to HR news items, Errol Flynn, Robert Ryan and Robert Mitchum were considered as possible stars for the film.