6.3/10
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Return of the Bad Men (1948)

Approved | | Western | 17 July 1948 (USA)
When part of Oklahoma Territory becomes officially part of the U.S., Vance Cordrell is forced to deal with some of the most infamous outlaws of the Old West.

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Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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Airs Wed. Jul. 06, 10:30 AM on TCM

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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John Pettit
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Madge Allen
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Jim Younger (as Richard Powers)
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Emmett Dalton
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Michael Harvey ...
Dean White ...
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'Wild Bill Doolin' / Wild Bill Doolin
...
'Wild Bill Yeager' / Wild Bill Yeager
Lew Harvey ...
'Arkansas Kid' / Arkansas Kid
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Storyline

When part of Indian Territory is incorporated into the United States, good-natured rancher Vance Cordell reluctantly accepts the badge of federal marshal when a flood of notorious outlaws views the new area as ripe for banditry. Included are the Dalton and Younger Gangs, Billy the Kid, and the Sundance Kid led by the notorious Wild Bill Doolin. Cordell has a personal stake in his campaign to eradicate the bad men because of a friend's murder and the robbery of the local bank owned by his future father-in-law. Written by duke1029@aol.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

PLUNDERING ARMY OF BADMEN! They Tried To Turn Oklahoma Into An Outlaw Empire! See more »

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

17 July 1948 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Schrecken von Texas  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although Tom Tyler would play Frank James in Badman's Territory (1946) and Best of the Badmen (1951) as well as another film, here he plays fictional outlaw Wild Bill Yeager. See more »

Goofs

During the fist fight between Vance and the Sundance Kid, Sundance grabs a bottle behind the saloon counter. In the next shot, it appears to have been smashed but we don't see him doing it. See more »

Quotes

John Pettit: Muley, don't you know that a bank is an institution that'll lend money to a man only upon his furnishin' absolute proof... that he don't need to borrow it in the first place?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: These outlaws famed in the history of the west, are riding to new riches and plunder -- the Oklahoma of 1889. A whole new territory was about to spring up overnight.

Ranchers, cattlemen, even whole towns -- their land bought by the government -- had been given thirty days to move elsewhere. Land hungry pioneers were gathering for the race for free land. And behind them, waiting and ready for this rich prey, came the outlaws. See more »

Connections

Followed by Best of the Badmen (1951) See more »

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User Reviews

 
You're the most unethical, ornery bandits I ever done business with.
30 May 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Return of the Badmen is directed by Ray Enright and co-written by Charles O'Neal, Jack Natteford and Luci Ward. It stars Randolph Scott, Robert Ryan, Anne Jeffreys, George Hayes and Jacqueline White. Music is by Paul Sawtell and cinematography by J. Roy Hunt.

Braxton, Oklahoma Territory, 1889, soon to be a ghost town as the impending land rush changes the West. With that comes more than just settlers, it brings outlaws too, some of the meanest there is. Under the leadership of Wild Bill Doolin has gathered the Sundance Kid, the Younger Brothers, the Daltons, Wild Bill Yeager, Billy The Kid, George Mason, the Arkansas Kid and Doolin's niece Cheyenne. Standing in their way? Vance Cordell, retired Texas Ranger, soon to become temporary marshal of newly formed Guthrie Town, and a man with a score to settle with the Sundance Kid.

Premise is simple, RKO, flush with the success of Badman's Territory the previous year, decide that more is best in this second instalment of the studio's "Badmen" trilogy (Best of the Badmen followed in 1951). They pitch some of the Wild West's baddest apples together and play them off against that bastion of stoic cowboyness, Randolph Scott. As a basic Western movie it works, film is always engaging, has a good action quota, is technically safe from the camera side of things and is driven by a pot boiling destiny showdown between Scott and Ryan. Trouble is is that so many notorious characters in one mix means the film has no chance of living up to its promise. Which in a running time of 90 minutes was always going to be impossible to achieve anyway, especially when you also have the inevitable romantic angle involving our hero, another character thread involving reform and the backdrop of the land rush as well.

Thankfully the film finds Scott and Ryan more than capable of sealing the deal, lifting the picture above the routine plotting and unrealistic nature of the set-up. It's good versus evil, where Scott's Cordell is the man in light, the man of the people, and Ryan's Sundance is the man in dark, a twitchy cold blooded psycho. Yes, there's the inevitability factor of it all, we know who is going to triumph here, but the build up is well handled and it does provide a very brisk and punch laden finale. There's nothing irritable in cast performances across the board, yes we want more from the roll call of actors playing under written villains, but story, as fantastical as it is, never sags and entertains from first minute to last. There's worse ways for Western fans to spend an hour and half, that's for sure! 6.5/10


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