Bad Bascomb


1h 52m 1946
Bad Bascomb

Brief Synopsis

A western bandit is reformed by his love for a little girl.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Western
Release Date
Jan 1946
Premiere Information
New York opening: 22 May 1946
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Distribution Company
Loew's Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 52m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Synopsis

In the 1860s, governors from three territories east of the Rocky Mountains are joined by federal agents in their quest to find outlaw Zeb Bascomb and stop his gang of bandits. John Fulton, the head of the federal agents, and the governors know little about the elusive Zeb, except that he has a rope burn scar on the back of his neck. One day, when Elder Moab McCabe, a lone Mormon missionary, rides into Zeb's territory on horseback, Zeb's partner, Bart Yancey, a white renegade reared by Indians, kills him in cold blood. Zeb and Bart later learn that a federal manhunt is underway, and decide to split from the gang and take refuge with Elijah Walker's Mormon caravan. Posing as new converts, Zeb and Bart join the Mormons on their journey to Utah. Zeb and Emmy, the young granddaughter of missionary Abbey Hanks, become fast friends, and Zeb soon discovers the drawbacks of being a new convert when he and Bart are assigned to do heavy work for the unmarried women in the caravan. While Zeb chooses to work for Abbey and the widow Annie Fremont, Bart goes to work for sisters Tillie and Lucy Lovejoy. One day, the caravan picks up Jimmy Holden, one of Zeb's gang, who has been shot and left for dead. Jimmy is nursed back to health by Dr. Luther Mason and his nurse Dora, who falls in love with the young outlaw. When Zeb discovers that the wagon train is carrying a cache of gold that the Mormons intend to use to build a hospital, he and Bart devise a plan to steal it. Ignoring Jimmy's warning to stay out of trouble, Zeb and Bart begin searching all the wagons for the hidden gold. While the wagon train attempts a dangerous river crossing, Emmy falls into the water and is rescued by Zeb, who has developed a fatherly love for the girl. Late that night, Emmy, believing that Zeb no longer loves her, runs away from the caravan camp. Zeb finds Emmy, but soon after he returns her to the wagon train, she becomes ill. Realizing that his love for Emmy is stronger than his determination to steal the gold, Zeb decides to forgo the theft and stay with Emmy. Bart, however, tries to steal the gold on his own, and shoots Elijah while fleeing the camp. In his dying words, Elijah appoints Zeb as the new leader of the Mormon group. Zeb's first challenge as the caravan leader is to protect it from an impending Indian attack that Bart has incited, and he succeeds in doing so by risking his life and riding his horse through Indian territory to get help from a nearby fort. Zeb returns to the camp with U.S. Cavalry reinforcements just in time to save the Mormons from an Indian massacre. Zeb kills Bart, but during their struggle, Fulton discovers Zeb's rope burn and arrests him. After bidding Emmy and the others farewell, Zeb leaves the caravan to serve his time in prison.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Western
Release Date
Jan 1946
Premiere Information
New York opening: 22 May 1946
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Distribution Company
Loew's Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 52m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Articles

Bad Bascomb


The MGM Western Bad Bascomb (1946) pitted ultimate child actress Margaret O’Brien against ultimate child-hater Wallace Beery, with crusty character actress Marjorie Main along for the ride. Beery plays bank robber Bascomb, who hides out among Mormon settlers traveling to Utah. O’Brien is an orphan who befriends Bascomb and makes him see the error of his ways. Just about to make off with the Mormons’ gold, Bascomb has a change of heart when he realizes the child is in danger from marauding Indians.

Much of the fun of watching this film is seeing Beery pull out all stops in trying to upstage eight-year-old O’Brien -- often to no avail since the grave little actress had a natural way of commanding attention. O’Brien later would recall Beery’s grinch-like behavior toward her during location filming in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and the adjoining Grand Teton National Park: "There were just enough lunches for the cast and crew, and when my back was turned he’d steal mine."

To confuse or disorient scene-stealing children, Beery was known to pinch them hard just before a scene was shot -- a practice he tried on O’Brien until her mother and director S. Sylvan Simon realized what was happening. "They had to put blocks between us so he wouldn’t pinch me," O’Brien said. She also remembered that Beery’s adopted daughter, who was working as an extra, broke her glasses during filming and Beery "made her work extra hours to pay for them."

O’Brien had happier memories of Main, who was "fun" -- if a bit eccentric, wearing wet toilet paper on her arms because she was terrified of the mosquitoes and other insects on location. "And when we would go into the log cabin to eat, she’d set a place for her dead husband and talk to him at the table." O’Brien also enjoyed the Apache tribe who worked on the film and was thrilled when they made her an "Indian princess." She remembered the excitement of bears appearing on the porch of a log cabin owned by Beery, who had recently filmed another movie in the area and had become quite a fixture on the local scene.

Producer: Orville O. Dull
Director: S. Sylvan Simon
Screenplay: William R. Lipman, Grant Garett, from story by D. A. Loxley
Cinematography: Charles Edgar Schoenbaum
Editing: Ben Lewis
Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons, Paul Youngblood
Costume Design: Irene, Valles
Original Music: David Snell
Principal Cast: Wallace Beery (Zed Bascomb), Margaret O’Brien (Emmy), Marjorie Main (Abbey Hanks), J. Carrol Naish (Bart Yancy), Frances Rafferty (Dora), Marshall Thompson (Jimmy Holden), Russell Simpson (Elijah Walker), Warner Anderson (Luther Mason).
BW-111m. Closed captioning.

by Roger Fristoe
Bad Bascomb

Bad Bascomb

The MGM Western Bad Bascomb (1946) pitted ultimate child actress Margaret O’Brien against ultimate child-hater Wallace Beery, with crusty character actress Marjorie Main along for the ride. Beery plays bank robber Bascomb, who hides out among Mormon settlers traveling to Utah. O’Brien is an orphan who befriends Bascomb and makes him see the error of his ways. Just about to make off with the Mormons’ gold, Bascomb has a change of heart when he realizes the child is in danger from marauding Indians. Much of the fun of watching this film is seeing Beery pull out all stops in trying to upstage eight-year-old O’Brien -- often to no avail since the grave little actress had a natural way of commanding attention. O’Brien later would recall Beery’s grinch-like behavior toward her during location filming in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and the adjoining Grand Teton National Park: "There were just enough lunches for the cast and crew, and when my back was turned he’d steal mine." To confuse or disorient scene-stealing children, Beery was known to pinch them hard just before a scene was shot -- a practice he tried on O’Brien until her mother and director S. Sylvan Simon realized what was happening. "They had to put blocks between us so he wouldn’t pinch me," O’Brien said. She also remembered that Beery’s adopted daughter, who was working as an extra, broke her glasses during filming and Beery "made her work extra hours to pay for them." O’Brien had happier memories of Main, who was "fun" -- if a bit eccentric, wearing wet toilet paper on her arms because she was terrified of the mosquitoes and other insects on location. "And when we would go into the log cabin to eat, she’d set a place for her dead husband and talk to him at the table." O’Brien also enjoyed the Apache tribe who worked on the film and was thrilled when they made her an "Indian princess." She remembered the excitement of bears appearing on the porch of a log cabin owned by Beery, who had recently filmed another movie in the area and had become quite a fixture on the local scene. Producer: Orville O. Dull Director: S. Sylvan Simon Screenplay: William R. Lipman, Grant Garett, from story by D. A. Loxley Cinematography: Charles Edgar Schoenbaum Editing: Ben Lewis Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons, Paul Youngblood Costume Design: Irene, Valles Original Music: David Snell Principal Cast: Wallace Beery (Zed Bascomb), Margaret O’Brien (Emmy), Marjorie Main (Abbey Hanks), J. Carrol Naish (Bart Yancy), Frances Rafferty (Dora), Marshall Thompson (Jimmy Holden), Russell Simpson (Elijah Walker), Warner Anderson (Luther Mason). BW-111m. Closed captioning. by Roger Fristoe

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

An April 1944 Hollywood Reporter news item indicates that actor Bruce Kellogg was originally set for the part played by Marshall Thompson. According to Hollywood Reporter, production included six weeks of location shooting in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Wallace Beery and Margaret O'Brien recreated their roles for a Lux Radio Theatre broadcast on March 1, 1948.