Cast & Crew
George "gabby" Hayes
By the late 1800s, a strip of land north of Texas and west of the Oklahoma territory, not claimed by any official government, has become an outlaw refuge known as Badman's Territory. One day, Texas county sheriff Mark Rowley and his brother and deputy Johnny pursue Jesse and Frank James and their sidekick Coyote toward Badman's Territory after the brothers rob a train. Also chasing the James brothers are U.S. Marshal William Hampton and his posse. After Mark captures Coyote and entrusts him to Johnny, the ruthless, ambitious Hampton tries to claim the old fugitive as his own and shoots Johnny in the back to obtain him. Frank and Jesse, however, ambush Hampton and take Coyote and the wounded Johnny to Quinto, the "capital" of Badman's Territory. Mark, whose prize horse has been stolen by outlaw Frank McGee, tracks his brother to Quinto, where he is being treated by a fugitive doctor and watched over by the James's gang. Although he has no legal authority in Quinto, Mark decides to stay there until Johnny recovers and soon ingratiates himself with Henryetta Alcott, the refined British owner of the Quinto newspaper. Henryetta is leading an effort to bring law and order to Quinto and is therefore a target of Wade, the saloon and hotel owner, and other businessmen who are prospering under the lawless conditions. After Mark defends Henryetta and faces down Wade, he then shoots and kills McGee when he refuses to return his stolen horse. Later, in order to keep peace in Quinto, he makes sure that Belle Starr's horse, on which the local Indian tribe has bet heavily, wins a race through town and retrieves the wager money that outlaw Sam Bass steals from Coyote. During this same time, however, the devious Hampton has issued wanted posters on Mark and Johnny, and Johnny is falling under the influence of the Dalton gang, who are planning their next bank robbery in Kansas. When Colonel Fairwell, the unofficial mayor of Quinto, then appoints Mark the new "regulator" of the town at a dance, Henryetta reveals that Oklahoma has just been annexed and that Badman's Territory can join with Oklahoma. After she acquires enough petition signatures to make Badman's Territory part of the Union, Mark proposes to her, but their happiness is shortlived when Mark refuses to deny Hampton's robbery charges and raises doubts in Henryetta's mind. Mark then discovers that Johnny has ridden off with the Dalton gang and chases him to Coffeyville, Kansas. Although Johnny is not actively involved in the bank holdups, he is shot during the ill-fated escape and is rescued by Mark and Coyote. Mark and Johnny's participation in the robberies comes to the attention to Hampton, who, now entrusted with legal authority in Badman's Territory, rides there with his posse. Before Mark and Johnny can reach Quinto, Johnny dies from his wounds. In Quinto, after Hampton announces that anyone who refuses to cooperate with his outlaw roundup will be shot without question, he shoots and kills Coyote when he refuses to accuse Mark in the Coffeyville robberies. Enraged by Hampton's coldbloodedness, Mark outdraws and kills him as a fight breaks out in the saloon. Mark is acquitted of the subsequent murder charges and happily rides off with Henryetta in the now peaceful town of Quinto.
George "gabby" Hayes
Carl Eric Hansen
Frank La Rue
Russell A. Cully
Albert S. D'agostino
Paul R. Davison
Robert De Grasse
Jack J. Gross
Walter E. Keller
Philip Martin Jr.
Earl B. Mounce
Jean L. Speak
Vernon L. Walker
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
But an unusual mistake was made in this race for statehood. A strip of land was completely overlooked... forgotten. It was left without law or sheriff. This strip had no legal basis for government of any kind. And in the closing decade of the Nineteenth Century, it became a hideout for the outlaws who infested the west. No United States Marshal dared venture there. It was called Badman's Territory.- Narrator
Well, Doc?- Hodge
I'm afraid he's made his last mistake.- Doc Grant
Men that put away their guns can't argue with the men that still carry them.- Doc Grant
Where are you headed for next, Bob?- The Coyote Kid
Two banks.- Bob Dalton
Double-header, huh?- The Coyote Kid
You know, I could kill you for what you just done.- Bill Hampton
Yeah, you've killed a lot for a lot less.- The Coyote Kid
Ben Johnson's uncredited appearance is as a member of Marshal Hampton's posse. He even has a line or two of dialogue. He and the marshal and another deputy dismount and enter a building on location. In the next shot, the studio interior, Hampton and the deputy come through the door, but not Ben, he has disappeared and is seen no more.
Hollywood Reporter news items add Les Gotcher, Katherine Lytle, Joan Morgan, Mary Lindblat and William Desmond to the cast, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. Modern sources note that the film made a net profit of $557,000 at the time of its initial release and was one of RKO's most successful pictures of 1946. As of November 19, 1954, the picture, which cost $600,000 to make, had grossed $4,000,000, according to Hollywood Reporter. Badman's Territory was one of two films shot in 1945 that marked actor and stuntman Ben Johnson's entry into motion pictures. The other film, also released in 1946, was California Gold Rush (see below).