Rebel in Town


1h 18m 1956

Brief Synopsis

A man hunts down the bank robber who accidentally killed his son.

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Film Details

Genre
Western
Release Date
Jul 1956
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Bel-Air Productions, Inc.; Prospect Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
United Artists Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 18m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Film Length
8 reels

Synopsis

Following the end of the Civil War, former Union officer John Willoughby settles in the Arizona town of Kittreck Wells with his wife Nora and son Petey. Petey idolizes his father and tries to emulate him by dressing up as a Union soldier and pretending to kill Confederates. On the day of Petey's seventh birthday, Marshal Adam Russell asks John to help him round up a band of renegade Rebel soldiers who have just robbed the bank of a neighboring town. Although Nora protests that both her husband and son are obsessed with killing Confederates, John agrees to help Adam. On the outskirts of town, meanwhile, the Rebels, Bedloe Mason and his sons Gray, Wesley, Cain and Frank, decide to ride into Kittreck Wells to replenish their dwindling water supply. Bedloe sends Gray, Frank and Wesley into town while he and Cain await their return. Soon afterward, Grandma Ackstadt and her granddaughter Lisbeth ride into town to attend Petey's birthday party. When Lisbeth sees Petey there, she insists on giving him his present, two cap pistols and a holster, and he eagerly straps them on. When the Masons ride into town soon after, the townsfolk fall silent in fear. Petey, eager to prove his prowess, sneaks up behind the Rebels and fires his pistols. Startled by the cracking sound, Wesley swivels around and shoots the boy. As the brothers mount their horses and gallop out of town, Gray, disturbed by the shooting, hesitates, then catches up to the others. When they reach Bedloe and Cain, Gray, angered by his brother's recklessness, insists that Wesley return to town and face the consequences of his actions. As is family custom, Bedloe polls the brothers on the issue, and they resoundingly vote against Gray's proposal. Soon after, John rides into town carrying a new saddle for his son and learns that Petey has been killed. Later, when Gray questions the shooting of an innocent boy and criticizes the rootless banditry of his family, the Bible-quoting Bedloe responds, "the Lord giveth and taketh away." After Petey is buried, Adam forms a posse to track the killers, but tells John to stay behind with Nora. Despite Nora's pleas to stay with her, the vengeful John rides out alone to settle the score. Still troubled by the shooting, Gray decides to return to Kittreck Wells and learn the fate of the boy. Even though the family votes against his decision, Gray rides out. Offering to try to reason with his brother, Wesley rides after him. When Gray refuses to listen, Wesley hurls a knife into his back and after strapping his brother's unconscious body onto his horse, sets the animal loose. Wesley then returns to camp and reports that Gray refused to listen to reason, but will meet the family at Oak Fork in three days. That night, John finds the wandering horse bearing Gray's body and takes him home. Although Nora recognizes Gray from town, she withholds the information from her husband to avoid any more trouble. The next day, Gray regains consciousness and upon seeing Nora, realizes that the boy was her son. Suspecting that Gray may have been one of the men who shot Petey, John asks him a series of veiled questions. When Gray suggests that John ask what he really wants to know, John, rifle in hand, glares at Gray and demands to know who killed his son. Alarmed, Nora rebukes her husband, prompting him to stalk out of the room. Nora then assures Gray she will never reveal that he is one of the men, because she wants them all to forget and move on. As that Masons wait at Oak Fork for Gray's return, Wesley tries to sneak out one night. Cain follows him and after accusing Wesley of killing Gray, demands his share of the robbery to keep silent. When Wesley jumps Cain, Bedloe breaks up the fight. Sensing foul play, Bedloe lashes Wesley to a tree and flogs him with a whip until he admits the truth. Bedloe then declares that they must ride back and find Gray. Gray, meanwhile, has made peace with John and recovered enough to head out on his own. As he bids John and Nora goodbye, Grandma and Lisbeth come to the house. Upon seeing Gray, Lisbeth denounces him as one of the men who shot Petey, adding that Nora saw him, too. Furious, John knocks Gray down, pulls an axe from a nearby log and is about to strike him with it when Nora stops him, giving Gray time to pull out his gun. Swearing that he did not kill Petey, Gray insists on returning to town with John to set the record straight. Although Adam believes Gray's story, he jails him to hold him over for trial. As a lynch mob of angry townsmen encircle the jail, Adam asks John for help, but he refuses. When John refuses Nora's pleas to help disperse the mob, she accuses him of being "mad for revenge." Just then, the rabble-rousers break into the jail and pull Gray from his cell. Marching into the jailhouse, John orders the men to let him hang Gray. At that moment, the Masons ride into town, rifles drawn, and Bedloe tells Gray to come to them. When John refuses to release Gray, Bedloe warns that he will open fire on the crowd. Once John frees Gray, Bedloe lowers his rifle and polls the brothers about turning in the guilty party. After Cain and Frank concede their votes to Bedloe, Wesley flees. Tracking him to the livery stable, Gray beseeches Wesley to surrender. Instead, Wesley overpowers Gray and is about to stab him when John steps in. In the ensuing fight, John wrests control of the knife and thrusts it into Wesley. John then carries out the injured Gray and hands him over to his family. While walking into the barn to see his slain son, Bedloe observes, "what the sons of some men do to the sons of others┬┐there's the tragedy of the world." As Nora walks off alone, John runs after her and the two embrace.

Film Details

Genre
Western
Release Date
Jul 1956
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Bel-Air Productions, Inc.; Prospect Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
United Artists Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 18m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Film Length
8 reels

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Opening and closing cast credits differ in order. According to the Variety review, actor Cain Mason, who portrayed the character named "Cain Mason" in the film, was formerly known as Sterling Franck. Danny Arnold was the first screenwriter to be signed under the Bel-Air Productions banner, according to a November 3, 1954 Hollywood Reporter news item.