The Kid from Texas


1h 18m 1950
The Kid from Texas

Brief Synopsis

Billy the Kid (Murphy) becomes embroiled in Lincoln County, NM, land wars. When rancher who gave him a break is killed by rival henchman, Billy vows revenge. New employer takes advantage of his naivete to kill rivals, lets the Kid take rap. Kid takes to the hills with friends until caught. Escapes hanging but remains in area to be near employer's young wife (Storm) with whom he's infatuated. Falls into trap by Pat Garrett and is shot down while gazing at woman thru window.

Film Details

Release Date
Feb 23, 1950
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Universal-International Pictures Co., Inc.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Company, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 18m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Synopsis

In Lincoln County, New Mexico, in July 1879, a group of men, led by gunslinger Minniger, confronts lawyer and rancher Alexander Kain and his partner Jameson in their office and attempts to arrest them for murder. Kain defends himself and Jameson, stating that the dead men were caught stealing cattle. He then warns the men that he will not stand for gunslingers running errands for his competitor, Major Harper, and Harper's supporter, Sheriff Rand. Waiting in the office is William Bonney, a young Texan known as Billy the Kid. When Minniger tries to take Billy's guns, he fires quickly, wounding Minniger and killing two of the gunmen. Later, Jameson offers Billy a job as a ranch hand. Billy tells Jameson that he ran away from his family eight years earlier after killing a man who defamed his mother. When Jameson asks Billy not to wear his guns on the ranch, he reluctantly complies. Later, Kain visits the ranch with his young wife Irene, and informs Jameson that he has been summoned to a meeting with territorial governor General Lew Wallace. While Jameson and Kain talk over their business, Irene engages Billy in conversation. When Kain sees them talking, however, he becomes angry and quickly leaves with Irene. In their meeting, Wallace informs Harper and Kain that he has come to New Mexico to end the range wars and orders them to keep the peace while he investigates. In the meantime, however, a drunken group of Harper's men who are seeking revenge attack the ranch. During the ensuing gunfight, Jameson is killed. Billy dons his guns and swears revenge for Jameson's death. Copeland, the local sheriff, forms a posse, and Kain asks them to bring the guilty men back for trial. During an escape attempt, Billy shoots two of the three prisoners and Minniger gets away. Rand then accuses Billy of murder, but Irene speaks on his behalf, and Kain reluctantly concedes that Billy was deputized at the time of the shootings. Later, after another gunfight with Harper's men, Kain, who has quarreled with Irene about Billy, claims that the gunfighter disregarded his orders. Wallace then hires Sheriff Pat Garrett to restore order and bring the fugitive Billy to justice. In 1880, Wallace meets with Billy in the mountains and offers him a full pardon, which Billy turns down as he still has not fully avenged Jameson's murder. In 1881, Billy is captured, tried and convicted of murder. Minniger tells Billy that he has claimed the reward money for his capture, most of which was contributed by Kain. Billy then escapes from jail and kills Minniger. He joins with his friends, Morales and O'Fallon, and continues to evade the posses on his trail. Later, Billy and his gang rob Kain's store of ammunition. While they are there, a posse arrives and blockades Billy in Kain's house. When Garrett arrives, he asks Billy to release the women hostages. Billy is willing, but Kain refuses to let them go without him. Angered, Billy forces Kain to tell Irene about his contribution to the reward and, disillusioned, she leaves with the servants. Garrett then burns them out. Kain is about to kill Billy, but a dying O'Fallon shoots him first, and Billy escapes again. Six weeks later, with twenty-one deaths to his name, Billy is killed by Garrett outside a home where Irene is staying.

Film Details

Release Date
Feb 23, 1950
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Universal-International Pictures Co., Inc.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Company, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 18m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Articles

The Kid from Texas -


As one of the most decorated infantryman of World War II, Audie Murphy was a household name before he was persuaded to try film acting. After starring as a juvenile delinquent in Bad Boy (1949), the unschooled Murphy proceeded to his first of many westerns, playing the infamous Billy the Kid. Studio publicity stressed that this story of "juvenile delinquency 70 years ago" would be the first to treat the historical William Bonney as a psychological case, while depicting his killings number 8 through 21. The kid's associate Sheriff Pat Garrett (Frank Wilcox) figures in the proceedings, along with Governor Lew Wallace (Robert Barrat), who in real life was the author of the best-selling novel Ben Hur. Billy's murders are rationalized as part of a range war, and as vengeance for the murder of a beloved father figure, Jameson (Shepperd Strudwick). Billy also finds himself drawn to Irene (Gale Storm), the child bride of Jameson's older partner in ranching, Alexander Kain (Albert Dekker). The jealous Kain uses his wealth and influence to insure that the innocent Billy becomes an outlaw with a price on his head. As if to compensate for Audie Murphy's weak acting, the film the script surrounds him with colorful actors like Will Geer and Martin Garralaga. The formidable William Talman serves as the chief villain. Just the same, most critics reserved their praise for Charles Van Enger's Technicolor vistas. Although he made many westerns, Audie Murphy's only acclaimed performances were for John Huston, in The Red Badge of Courage (1951) and The Unforgiven (1960). The director told author Lillian Ross that he perceived a rare quality in Murphy: behind the polite soldier boy manners, Huston could feel the calm nerve of a born killer.

By Glenn Erickson
The Kid From Texas -

The Kid from Texas -

As one of the most decorated infantryman of World War II, Audie Murphy was a household name before he was persuaded to try film acting. After starring as a juvenile delinquent in Bad Boy (1949), the unschooled Murphy proceeded to his first of many westerns, playing the infamous Billy the Kid. Studio publicity stressed that this story of "juvenile delinquency 70 years ago" would be the first to treat the historical William Bonney as a psychological case, while depicting his killings number 8 through 21. The kid's associate Sheriff Pat Garrett (Frank Wilcox) figures in the proceedings, along with Governor Lew Wallace (Robert Barrat), who in real life was the author of the best-selling novel Ben Hur. Billy's murders are rationalized as part of a range war, and as vengeance for the murder of a beloved father figure, Jameson (Shepperd Strudwick). Billy also finds himself drawn to Irene (Gale Storm), the child bride of Jameson's older partner in ranching, Alexander Kain (Albert Dekker). The jealous Kain uses his wealth and influence to insure that the innocent Billy becomes an outlaw with a price on his head. As if to compensate for Audie Murphy's weak acting, the film the script surrounds him with colorful actors like Will Geer and Martin Garralaga. The formidable William Talman serves as the chief villain. Just the same, most critics reserved their praise for Charles Van Enger's Technicolor vistas. Although he made many westerns, Audie Murphy's only acclaimed performances were for John Huston, in The Red Badge of Courage (1951) and The Unforgiven (1960). The director told author Lillian Ross that he perceived a rare quality in Murphy: behind the polite soldier boy manners, Huston could feel the calm nerve of a born killer. By Glenn Erickson

Quotes

Suppose I told you there were half a dozen warrants out for his arrest right now. One for killing a man out of Silver City, Colorado, eight years ago with a knife. Another for killing four Chiricahua Indians.
- Sheriff Brand
Eight years ago? Well, that's ridiculous. The boy couldn't have been more than twelve years old!
- Alexander Kain
You don't judge a rattlesnake by his age. He's a rattler whether he's got one rattler or a dozen.
- Sheriff Brand

Trivia

Notes

In a spoken foreword, the filmmakers state that this film depicts the true story of Billy the Kid. An article in Los Angeles Times reported that J. Edgar Hoover offered to narrate the film. The same article noted that producer Paul Short wanted to hire Lloyd Nolan, Herbert Marshall, Charles Bickford and Mona Freeman to star in the film with Audie Murphy. According to prelease news items in Hollywood Reporter, Dortan Pillar, Rose Turcel, Jack Ingram, William Fawcett and Ann Blyth were cast in the film. Some scenes were shot on location at Idyllwild, CA. General Lew Wallace (1827-1905), who was governor of the New Mexico territory from 1878 to 1881, was best known as the author of the novel Ben-Hur. For more information on Billy the Kid, please see the entry above for Billy the Kid.