Five Guns West


1h 18m 1955

Film Details

Release Date
Apr 1955
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Palo Alto Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
American Releasing Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Death Valley, California, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 18m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Path├ęcolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.85 : 1
Film Length
6,979ft (9 reels)

Synopsis

In the last days of the Civil War, the Confederacy is so desperate for men that convicted criminals are sometimes pardoned for special missions. Five such men--convicted murderers and brothers John Morgan Candy and William Parcel Candy, rustler J. C. Haggard, gambler Hale Clinton and highwayman Govern Sturges--are told to ride north to the deserted mining town of Dawn Springs. There, they are to intercept a stagecoach carrying Stephen Jethro, a Confederate traitor who is carrying important information and $30,000 in gold for the Union. The criminals are wary of the long, hard ride through Comanche territory but are eager to get the gold, which the Confederate captain promises they can keep. The men begin their journey and when they make camp that night, Clinton antagonizes the simple-minded, vicious Billy by calling him "loco." Govern defuses their quarrel and attempts to keep the peace as the men ride further into Indian territory. The outlaws begin speculating about making alliances and killing the others in order to gain more of the gold, and although Govern is approached separately by Clinton and the Candys, he refuses to commit to either side. Soon after, a lone Indian scout attacks Billy but is quickly killed by him, and the men are forced to flee before being found by a large group of Comanches. After riding all night, they reach Dawn Springs, where the only residents are the fiery Shalee and her alcoholic uncle Mime, who tend the relief horses for the stagecoach line. Worried that the approaching riders are "saddle tramps" intent on stealing the horses, Shalee faces them with a rifle, but Govern shouts that they mean no harm. Govern then sneaks around the house and disarms Shalee, and after warning her and Mime to stay inside, makes camp outside with his men. Unsure of the exact arrival time of Jethro's stage, the outlaws grow edgy, and Govern struggles to keep them away from Shalee and to keep them vigilant while waiting for the stage. Both Clinton and Billy grow resentful of Govern's leadership, while Shalee, eager to learn why the men are there, comes out one night to question them. She winds up dancing with several of them until Govern insists that she return home and again warns her to keep away. The next day, believing that the men have left temporarily, Shalee sneaks out to search their saddlebags and is surprised by Billy's sudden return. Billy lets it slip that they are awaiting an unscheduled stage from California, then tries to kiss Shalee. When she resists, Billy begins to strangle her until John drags him away and knocks him unconscious. John also menaces her, but she is rescued again by Govern. Inside the house, Mime, disgusted by his drunkenness and cowardice, tosses aside his bottle and promises Shalee that he will reform. That night, Shalee tries to slip away to warn the coming stage but is captured by Govern. The lonely young woman, who senses that Govern is different from the others, responds eagerly when he kisses her, but after she leaves, Clinton insinuates that he will kill Shalee if Govern does not give him his share of the gold. The next day, the stage finally arrives, and Govern's careful planning pays off when the outlaws easily defeat the small group of accompanying Union cavalry and apprehend Jethro. The outlaws are infuriated to learn that Jethro has left the gold on deposit in San Francisco and decide to force him to return to California to withdraw it. Govern, however, insists that Jethro be turned over to the Confederates for trial. Outraged, Clinton finally guesses the truth, that Govern is actually a Confederate officer planted among them to insure the success of their mission. The outlaws declare that they are taking over, but Govern grabs Jethro and escapes into the house, where he reveals his true identity to Mime and Shalee. Although they are Northerners, they are relieved to learn that Govern is not a killer, and prepare to fight by his side. After Shalee apologizes to Govern for her earlier mistrust, the couple confesses their love for each other. Meanwhile, the four criminals wait, hoping to force Govern to make the first move, but the impatient Billy storms the house the next day and is shot down by Govern. Pretending to be retrieving his brother's body, John sneaks into the crawl space under the house and starts shooting up at the inhabitants. After Govern and the others leave the house, Govern enters the crawl space to combat John. Unwilling to risk death, Haggard rides away, and Clinton sneaks up the house to capture Shalee, Mime and Jethro. Hearing shots below the house, they know that either Govern or John has been killed, and anxiously wait to see who will appear. Govern then comes up behind Clinton and disarms him, but is forced to kill him when Clinton pulls a knife. Soon after, Govern prepares to escort Jethro to the Confederate forces, and reassures Shalee that he will be returning to her soon.

Film Details

Release Date
Apr 1955
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Palo Alto Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
American Releasing Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Death Valley, California, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 18m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Path├ęcolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.85 : 1
Film Length
6,979ft (9 reels)

Quotes

The Yankees came a long way to be buried.
- Govern Sturges

Trivia

Notes

Although the copyright date is listed in the U.S. Catalog of Copyright Entries as November 20, 1954, an addendum to that notice lists the date as 1955, as does the film's onscreen credits. According to Hollywood Reporter news items, this picture was shot on location at Death Valley, CA. Five Guns West marked the directorial debut of producer Roger Corman. According to Corman's autobiography, the picture took nine days to film. Modern sources also note that when R. Wright Campbell complained to Corman that he was being paid only $200 for his script, Corman offered him the role of "John Morgan Candy," for which he is billed onscreen as Bob Campbell.
       According to an undated but contemporary Daily Variety news item at the AMPAS Library, Corman intended to produce a sequel to Five Guns West entitled Reception. The sequel, which was to trace the "problems of a Confederate hero who brings a Northern bride back to Georgia," was never made, however.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1955

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1955

Roger Corman's directorial feature directorial debut.

Released in United States 1955

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1955