Cast & Crew
In 1885, in New Orleans, river boat gambler Chris Mooney loses a large sum of money playing poker with Prudence Webb, a glamorous stranger. His pride wounded, Chris obtains a $30,000 loan from some businessmen and attempts to recoup his losses, but is again defeated by Prudence. Over breakfast, Chris asks Prudence to become his gambling partner, but she declines, as she intends to move to Fort Ralston, Texas, to run a newspaper. Prudence then reveals that she is the daughter of a man who embezzled $50,000 in order to gamble with Chris, then shot himself when he lost. Though unmoved by Prudence's story, Chris is nonetheless attracted to her and vows to follow her to Texas and repay his debt to the businessmen. On her way to Fort Ralston, Prudence, who has used her poker winnings to make restitution to her father's employer, meets Stringy Winfield, the town's postmaster. Stringy explains that town founder Micah Ralston and his partner, Sturdy, own most of the land in the area and run things with an iron fist. When Prudence arrives at the town's newspaper office and shows editor Clay Ballard the papers that entitle her to take over the Clarion , he balks and demands that they be authenticated. Ballard's estranged brother lost ownership of the newspaper during a poker game with Prudence's father, who, in turn, willed the operation to Prudence, and Prudence is determined to claim her inheritance. To that end, Prudence visits drunken lawyer Cass Gower, but Cass refuses to become involved, as Ralston controls the newspaper and would do anything to stop her. Prudence criticizes Cass for his cowardice, and later, a chastened Cass appears at Prudence's boardinghouse, sober and clean, and offers his services. With help from Stringy, Cass soon proves the legality of the papers and compels Ralston crony Judge Herzog to award ownership of the Clarion to Prudence. At Ralston's sprawling ranch, meanwhile, Ralston refuses to return the straying cattle of neighbor Gantz, and Jess Foley, a hired killer who poses as one of Ralston's "deputies," shoots Gantz in cold blood. Ralston then attempts to buy out Prudence, but she turns him down. When Prudence posts a notice about her ownership, Foley, who is attracted to her, admits he is illiterate and asks her to read it to him. Prudence assumes he is mocking her, but later learns from Stringy that Foley is indeed illiterate. The following night, Prudence shows up at a Ralston-sponsored fandango and dances with Foley. Foley escorts her outside and tries to kiss her, but feeling conflicted, she resists him. Back inside, they resume dancing until Chris arrives unannounced and cuts in. Foley seethes with jealousy, and Prudence warns Chris that the killer is easily provoked. Chris is nonchalant, however, and declares he is staying in town to be near her. Although Prudence drops by the Ralston ranch and begs Foley to leave Chris alone, Foley insists that he is going to kill Chris the following afternoon. Later, in town, Sheriff Herndon, another Ralston crony, informs Prudence that the newspaper owes $6,000 in back taxes, due the next day. Chris tries to win the money at faro, but instead loses everything, then is confronted by Foley. Using his specially designed derringer, Chris outdraws Foley and shoots his gun out of his hand. The sheriff arrests Chris, but Cass soon has him released. Before the drunken Foley can challenge Chris again, Gantz' vengeful widow guns him down. Later, as Prudence prepares to leave town with Chris, having admitted defeat, saloon owner Mead Moore and other local businessmen announce that they have collected enough cash to pay the taxes. The town's citizens then rally together and elect Chris the new mayor, Cass the new judge and Moore the new sheriff. When Ralston hears about the revolt, he punishes the town by surrounding it with his armed deputies and refusing to allow anyone to leave. Because he is carrying the mail, Stringy is allowed to pass and races to report Ralston's actions to the Texas Rangers. In Fort Ralston, meanwhile, Cass is shot and killed by one of Ralston's thugs, and gunfire erupts. The fight is interrupted by the arrival of the Rangers, and after Prudence denounces Ralston for allowing Cass's cold-blooded murder, Ralston and Sturdy back down. After finally conceding that the Texas land baron days are over, Ralston and Sturdy return Prudence's tax money and ride off. Prudence and Chris then look forward to a happy future together.
Lewis P. Rosen
Jean L. Speak
Jerry D. Welch
Texas Lady was Claudette Colbert's only western and her first American film since Universal's 1951 release Thunder on the Hill . In the intervening years, she appeared in two European pictures and on television. Texas Lady also marked her penultimate feature film appearance. Her last film was the 1961 Warner Bros. release Parrish (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1961-70). The following actors were listed as cast members in Hollywood Reporter news items: Jim Hayward, Alan Reynolds, Paul Wexler, Stuart Randall, Henry Tyler, John Merrick, Francis MacDonald and Don Blackman. Their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed, however. Location shooting took place in the town of Murphys, CA, and in and around Sonora in the High Sierras.
Released in United States Fall November 1955
Released in United States Fall November 1955