Quirt Evans, an all round bad guy, is nursed back to health and sought after by Penelope Worth, a Quaker girl. He eventually finds himself having to choose between his world and the world Penelope lives in.
In 1818 Alabama, French settlers are pitted against greedy land-grabber Blake Randolph but Kentucky militiaman John Breen, who's smitten with French gal Fleurette De Marchand, comes to the settlers' aid.
Notorious gunman Quirt Evans is wounded and on the run. He arrives at a Quaker farm owned by Thomas Worth and his family where he collapses from exhaustion. Evans asks Thomas and his daughter Penelope to drive him into town in their wagon in order to send an urgent telegram. The telegram contains a land claim and is sent to the land recorder's office. The Quaker family is ignoring the town doctor's advice to rid themselves of the gunfighter and they compassionately tend to the delirious Evans. Penny Worth becomes intrigued by his ravings of past loves.When Evans regains consciousness, Penny explains to him about the Quaker credo of non-violence and way of life. Three weeks later, two desperadoes, Laredo Stevens and Hondo Jeffries, ride into town looking for Evans.Penny's younger brother, Johnny, rushes home to inform Evans of his visitors and Evans prepares to flee. Penny, now smitten with Evans, offers to run off with him. Upon hearing the sound of approaching horses, Evans grabs his... Written by
The small bag of gold double eagles is thrown to Quirt at the beginning. Gold at the time was $20 a troy ounce and would have consisted of 250 coins. At 14 ounces to the pound, it would have weighed 187.5 pounds, not the mere few pounds the few silver dollars it likely contained. See more »
The Angel and the Badman is a milestone film in the career of John Wayne. It was the first film in which he had a substantial role behind the camera. My guess is that he must have lobbied Herbert J. Yates at Republic films for some creative control and Yates gave in to his studio's biggest moneymaker.
Though Wayne at times didn't have the best judgment in regard to his own personal projects, The Angel and the Badman is a winner in every way and doesn't get near enough credit for the work it is except from Wayne partisans.
Wayne plays young gun hand Quirt Evans, a most feared man in the territory, who wounded falls in the hands of a Quaker family who nurses him back to health. Wayne starts eying pretty daughter Gail Russell.
Pretty soon under her influence Wayne starts questioning the direction his life's been going in. Of course the Quakers do cheat a little on this question themselves. Though they don't believe in violence, the Duke's reputation as a gun hand comes in mighty handy in settling at least one neighborly dispute with Paul Hurst.
My favorite scene in the film and one of Wayne's best in all his films also involves his reputation. When Bruce Cabot and two henchmen find him at the Quaker home, Wayne runs one terrific bluff holding them off with an empty gun. This was the first time Wayne and Cabot worked together. In the sixties Cabot became a regular in Wayne films.
Angel and the Badman also has two other Wayne attempted reclamation projects. Gail Russell was one of the most beautiful women ever on the silver screen. She had a lot of tragedy in her life and died young. Wayne at one point gave her the lead in a film Seven Men from Now that he was producing, but not starring in, with Randolph Scott. She gave a good performance, but a lot of substance abuse had taken its toll.
Paul Hurst later on got a pay day from Wayne in Big Jim McLain in a scene he portrayed from a wheelchair. He was terminally ill with cancer and in fact took his own life shortly afterwards. The money was no doubt needed for Hurst's medical expenses.
Later on in McLintock Wayne said in one scene he doesn't give jobs, he hires men (and women). This was his idea of charity and something that never gets talked about enough by people, even some of Wayne's most devoted fans.
As this was his first film as producer, I have no doubt that the Duke wanted Harry Carey, the man he patterned his cowboy image after in this film. One of Carey's best screen performances as the "patient" federal marshal who's waiting for Cabot and Wayne to shoot it out so he can hang the winner.
Wayne's good friend James Edward Grant wrote and directed the film. Later on Frank Capra disparaged Grant as a bad influence on Wayne when they quarreled during the filming of Circus World. Grant did write some of the more conservative on Wayne's films. But I certainly can't fault anything he did in The Angel and the Badman.
In fact it's a winner in just about every respect. Even some Wayne haters might like this one.
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