The Redhead from Wyoming
VIDEO of The Redhead from Wyoming (1953) Maureen O’Hara
|The Redhead from Wyoming|
|Directed by||Lee Sholem|
|Produced by||Leonard Goldstein|
|Music by||Herman Stein|
|Cinematography||David M. Walsh|
|Edited by||Milton Carruth|
|Box office||$1.1 million (US)|
The Redhead from Wyoming is a 1953 American Western drama film produced by Leonard Goldstein and directed by Lee Sholem. It stars Maureen O’Hara as a saloon proprietress who becomes embroiled in a cattle war and Alex Nicol as the sheriff who tries to prevent it. The supporting cast includes William Bishop as a politician who provokes the war and Alexander Scourby as a prominent cattle rancher.
- Maureen O’Hara as Kate Maxwell, a stage performer with a checkered history in Texas
- Alex Nicol as Sheriff Stan Blaine, a drifter whose family was killed in a Texas cattle war when he was a boy
- William Bishop as Jim Averell, a scheming politician who once betrayed Kate in Texas
- Robert Strauss as “Knuckles” Hogan, Kate’s bodyguard
- Alexander Scourby as Reece Duncan, an established cattle rancher
- Gregg Palmer as Hal Jessup (as Palmer Lee), a young settler
- Jack Kelly as Sandy
- Jeanne Cooper as Myra, a showgirl, Hal’s sweetheart
- Dennis Weaver as Matt Jessup, a settler
- Stacy Harris as Chet Jones
The film begins with scenes of life in Wyoming Territory, where new settlers join the cattle business by finding stray, unbranded cattle, called “mavericks”, on public land. The narrator explains that established ranchers use the so-called “maverick law” against the settlers, while “sharp-witted men” take advantage of the resulting conflict. After this introduction, Jim Averell (Bishop) is shown exhorting settlers to elect him governor to defend them against cattle barons such as Reece Duncan (Scourby). When Averell’s speech is over, the famous stage performer Kate Maxwell (O’Hara) arrives with a group of showgirls. Averell has arranged for Kate to operate both a cattle-buying business and a saloon. Duncan warns Kate that he will kill anyone caught stealing cattle on his land, and Sheriff Stan Blaine (Nicol) warns her of an impending war over the cattle business.
The tension between Duncan and the settlers rises as the settlers search for mavericks on Duncan’s land and outlaws hired by Averell steal Duncan’s cattle. Averell designed the “K-M” brand for Kate’s cattle business in such a way that her branding iron completely covers Duncan’s “bar double check” brand when applied directly over it. When Averell explains this trick to Kate, he makes it clear to her that she will be hanged as a rustler if she informs the authorities, and Duncan refuses her offer to support him against Averell.
Meanwhile, unknown gunfighters assemble in the nearby hills, and one of them shoots a settler. After Duncan attempts to stop a cattle roundup organized by Averell and the settlers, one of his men is killed, with Kate’s branding iron left near the body. To further increase the tension, Averell offers Duncan his support against the settlers immediately after inciting their anger against Duncan. Averell’s plan is to ignite a cattle war and promote his own political career by providing leadership once the war has begun.
However, Blaine discovers Averell’s plan. After Blaine and Kate have explained it to their men, they stage a fake war, and Blaine forces Averell to signal his men. When the outlaws ride into town, they begin a gunfight against both Duncan’s men and the settlers. After Averell shoots Blaine, Kate catches him stealing money from the saloon, and when he tries to shoot her, she and Blaine kill him. After the fight, Blaine prepares to leave town, but Kate persuades him to stay with her. The film ends as they ride away to inspect some farmland for a new home.
- ‘The Top Box Office Hits of 1953’, Variety, January 13, 1954