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The Ox-Bow Incident (1943)

Not Rated | | Drama, Western | 21 May 1943 (USA)
When a posse captures three men suspected of killing a local farmer, they become strongly divided over whether or not to lynch the men.



(written for the screen by), (from the novel by)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Art Croft (as Henry Morgan)
Victor Kilian ...


Two drifters are passing through a Western town, when news comes in that a local farmer has been murdered and his cattle stolen. The townspeople, joined by the drifters, form a posse to catch the perpetrators. They find three men in possession of the cattle, and are determined to see justice done on the spot. Written by David Levene <D.S.Levene@durham.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Tough! True! Terrifying! See more »


Drama | Western


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

21 May 1943 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Conciencias muertas  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$565,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The production on the film would be shut down for a week or ten days "due to the $5,000-per-film limit on new construction materials." During the shutdown, already used sets were torn down so that their material could be re-used to build the mountain pass set. Studio publicity noted that the Ox-Bow Valley setting was "the largest set ever constructed" by Fox, and that it covered 26,703 feet. See more »


Gil Carter (Fonda) pulls his gun out twice when the mob first arrives at the Ox-Bow. See more »


hick1: Down in Texas, where I come from, we just go out and get a man and string him up.
hick2: That's right!
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Crazy Credits

At the end of the credits an ad for U.S. war savings bonds is shown on the screen. It says that "15,000 movie theatres are now selling U.S. war savings stamps and bonds! Buy yours in this theatre." See more »


Referenced in O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) See more »


Red River Valley
Played at the beginning and end of the film as well as at the camp site prior to the hanging
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A Fabulous Study of Mob Mentality
29 April 2005 | by See all my reviews

Before "12 Angry Men" there was "The Ox-Bow Incident," a bleaker and never less than fascinating exploration of the nature of mob violence. Unlike "12 Angry Men," this film has no clear-cut heroes. It takes place in a more primitive, wilder time and location, and the principal question at the crux of this movie's conflict is whether or not three suspected cattle thieves should be punished without due legal process. A small group is in favor of letting the frontier town sheriff handle the situation, while a much larger group smells only blood (and in some cases are motivated by personal vengeance) and convince themselves of the suspects' guilt without listening to any of the evidence. It's quite a frightening movie in its own way, and it has a stark look at odds with the average studio film being churned out at the time (1943). Henry Fonda is quite good, as usual, in the closest thing the movie has to a main character, but it seems pointless to single him out in what is obviously such an ensemble effort, and in a movie that only lasts a mere 75 minutes or so and has such a large cast, each actor manages to color his/her character with delightful details, sometimes with no more than a single line of dialogue or one reaction shot.

"The Ox-Bow Incident" is a fantastic film. I don't think it's well-remembered now, but I'm thrilled to see it on DVD and hope that it will be rediscovered.

Grade: A

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