Cast & Crew
In 1867, during America's expansion into Indian territory, the small Arizona town of San Remo comes under siege by an Apache war party led by Charlie Wolf, a "half-breed," who is protesting the corrupt Indian agency in charge of administering aid to Apaches. Dan Craig, a gambler passing through San Remo, takes an interest in the dispute when he suspects that San Remo's Marshal Cassidy is in league with Kraemer, the double-dealing Indian agency head. During his stay in San Remo, Dan also becomes involved with Helen Dowling, a pretty young singer who is planning to leave San Remo for San Francisco to further her career. The siege, which has been deliberately instigated by hotel owner Crawford and his men, who are planning to use the unrest as their excuse to make a claim on the gold buried under the Indian reservation, is momentarily suspended when Wolf enters Crawford's hotel with his gun lowered, asking for the surrender of Kraemer. While the townspeople view the proceedings in disbelief, Dan and Wolf begin negotiations. The temporary truce is soon broken, however, when Crawford starts a gun battle with the Apaches. Despite the attack by Crawford, Wolf sees a trustworthy friend in Dan and knows that he is sincere in his efforts to avert further bloodshed. As smoke signals emanating from the reservation announce impending war, U.S. Cavalry troops under the command of Capt. Jackson arrive in San Remo. At the captain's request, Dan relays a message to the Apaches that the government is willing to dismiss Kraemer from the agency in exchange for peace. The Apaches accept the offer, but as Dan and Wolf ride back to San Remo, Dan is wounded in an ambush. Soon after Dan and Wolf arrive in San Remo, Wolf meets Helen for the first time and falls instantly in love with her. Kraemer is later replaced by Dan as the local agency representative, and Wolf is made his assistant. The first attempt by the Apaches to get supplies in San Remo with Dan as head of the agency ends in tragedy, however, when Crawford's men ambush the caravan, steal their goods and kill many Indians. Later, when Dan finds Wolf forcing his attentions on Helen, the two men quarrel, and Wolf leaves San Remo. Hoping to prevent the Apaches from retaliating for the ambush, Dan promises to return their stolen goods and bring the culprit to justice. The fragile truce is further strained when Wolf's sister Nah-Lin is found murdered. One of Crawford's men, Russell, is arrested for the Nah-Lin's murder, but, faced with certain death at the hands of the Apaches, he names Crawford as the real culprit. Shortly after the admission, Crawford kills Russell. Dan chases after Crawford, kills him and delivers his body to the Apaches. Satisfied with the death of Nah-Lin's killer and the source of corruption in San Remo, the Apaches call off the war party and Wolf and Dan patch up their differences. Wolf decides to return to the reservation to help enlighten his people about the white man's ways.
Robert Hardy Andrews
Samuel E. Beetley
Albert S. D'agostino
B. Reeves Eason
Maj. Philip J. Kieffer
William V. Skall
Young' in a bushy black mustache' plays against his usual image as a lightweight leading man or quietly capable father figure. Buetel' who gained notoriety as Billy the Kid opposite Jane Russell in Howard Hughes' sexy' much-censored Western The Outlaw (1943)' had found his career stymied after that debut performance. He was under personal contract to Hughes' who had refused to lend him out for other projects -- including Montgomery Clift's star-making role in Red River (1948). According to The Film Encyclopedia' Buetel thought it was because Hughes believed he had an affair with one of Hughes' girlfriends. By the time Buetel was free to resume his career' public interest in him had waned' and he was able to land roles in only a handful of low-budget Westerns including The Half-Breed. He eventually moved to Portland' Oregon' to pursue a career in insurance.
The Half-Breed' one of only five films directed by Oscar®-nominated film editor Stuart Gilmore' is cited by Gretchen M. Bataille and Charles L. P. Silet in their book The Pretend Indians as part of Hollywood's "shift toward pro-Indian movies" in the 1950s. Other writers were critical of Buetel's "cigar store-type Indian" character' but film historian Howard Thompson pointed out that The Half-Breed at least expressed "concern about racial prejudice."
Producers: Herman Schlom' Samuel Bischoff (uncredited)
Director: Stuart Gilmore
Screenplay: Harold Shumate' Richard Wormser' Charles Hoffman' from story by Robert Hardy Andrews
Cinematography: William V. Skall
Art Direction: Ralph Berger' Albert S. D'Agostino
Original Music: Paul Sawtell
Editing: Samuel E. Beetley
Costume Design: Michael Woulfe
Principal Cast: Robert Young (Dan Craig)' Jack Buetel (Charlie Wolf)' Janis Carter (Helen Dalhen)' Barton MacLane (Marshal Cassidy)' Reed Hadley (Frank Crawford)' Connie Gilchrist (Ma Higgins).
by Roger Fristoe
According to an April 1950 Daily Variety news item, author Robert Hardy Andrews was signed by RKO executive producer Sid Rogell to write and produce this story. Sam Bischoff later took over as executive producer. Although Hollywood Reporter production charts and news items indicate that principal photography was directed entirely by Edward Ludwig, with Irving Starr producing, Stuart Gilmore and Herman Schlom are credited onscreen as director and producer, respectively. Twelve days of added scenes and retakes began in late October 1951; it is possible that Gilmore took over direction at that time. An early February 1951 Hollywood Reporter news item noted that Ludwig was also set to work on the screenplay, but his contribution to the final film, if any, has not been determined.
Location shooting took place in Sedona, AZ, and at the RKO Ranch in Encino, CA, according to news items. A pre-production news item announced that Ludwig was scouting locations near Sonora in Baja California, but it has not been determined whether any filming actually took place there. According to a March 30, 1951 Hollywood Reporter news item, Robert Young was hospitalized for three days during production after collapsing on the set with a viral infection.