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The Kansan (1943)

Approved | | Western | 10 September 1943 (USA)
Wounded while stopping the James gang from robbing the local bank, a cowboy wakes up in the hospital to find that he's been elected town marshal. He soon comes into conflict with the town ... See full summary »



(screenplay), (from the story "Peace Marshal")

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Eleanor Sager
Steve Barat
Tom Waggoner
Jeff Barat
Hobart Cavanaugh ...
Josh Hudkins
Gil Hatton
Willie Best ...
Ben Nash
Ed Gilbert
Messenger (as Raphael Bennett)


Wounded while stopping the James gang from robbing the local bank, a cowboy wakes up in the hospital to find that he's been elected town marshal. He soon comes into conflict with the town banker, who controls everything in town and is squeezing the townspeople for every penny he can get out of them. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis






Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

10 September 1943 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Meet John Bonniwell  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


This was one of two dozen Walter Wanger & Harry Sherman films re-released theatrically in the 1940s by Masterpiece Productions, and ultimately sold by them for USA television syndication in 1950. It was first telecast in New York City on WCBS Saturday 17 June 1950. See more »


Josh Hudkins: [to Bonniwell] Marshal, I'm the mayor here. Aren't you overstepping your authority?
See more »


Featured in Doctor Who: The Tenth Planet: Episode 2 (1966) See more »


Lullaby of the Herd
Lyrics by Foster Carling
Music by Phil Ohman
Sung by The King's Men
See more »

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User Reviews

Robust Western with good small production values
18 February 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Any film with Richard Dix is worth a chance not only because he's a likable and powerful figure but he seemed to bounce around the edges of the studio system so that his films vary standard formulas in unpredictable ways. The Kansan's saloon sets are excellent, for instance, and the crowds well directed--other posts mention the remarkably modern dance number (with perspectival backdrops) and the extended brawl with well-choreographed sequences and character highlights. Outdoor cinematography at the toll-bridge across which several incidents of the plot transpire featured impressive depth and angle.

A big stable of acting talent also raises this film's quality, but I'll let other posters provide those kudos.

My only difference with other posters is their near-blanket condemnation of the Bones character played by the terrific William Best. Certainly most of the film's racial dynamics are regrettably stereotypical, but Dix and Best interact as two smart guys recognizing each other. The film's single best moment for me was when the Jory character enters Best's servant quarters at the Sager Hotel. When Jory walks in, the Bones character is READING, which suggests that not just Willie Best but his character knows that Bones's minstrel persona is an act. Further, when Jory leaves the room, the door swings shut to reveal a portrait of Lincoln.

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