5 user 3 critic

Tough Assignment (1949)

In order to investigate a modern-day cattle rustling operation, a newspaper reporter and his girlfriend infiltrate the gang.



(story), (screenplay) (as Miltan Luban)

On Disc

at Amazon




Cast overview, first billed only:
Dan Reilly (as Don Barry)
Margie Reilly
Boss Morgan
Joe (as John Cason)
'Hutch' Hutchison
Edit Angold ...
Mrs. Schultz
Leander De Cordova ...
Chief Investigator Patterson
Al Foster


Don Reilly, a Los Angeles newspaper reporter in 1949, recently married to Margie, a photographer employed by the same newspaper, stumbles upon the fact that gangsters are forcing butcher shops to sell their unlicensed beef, and he persuades his managing editor to allow him to follow up on the story. His bride goes with him on an investigation that leads him to the ranch hideout of the gang, who are rustling cattle using fast, refrigeration trucks. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


An Action-Packed Expose of Cattle Rustling Today


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Release Date:

15 November 1949 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cowboy-Gangster  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


One of a handful of films shot with "The new Garutso lens for 3-Dimensional effect". The lens in question was hardly "new", having been developed and used in films since the '30's, but it made great ballyhoo. The lens is an extreme wide angle device that could be used with a large assortment of diopter filters, hence making everything seem, from foreground to background, in perfect focus. See more »

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User Reviews

Undercover Newlyweds
21 March 2011 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Cowboy star Don Barry does not entirely forsake the wide open spaces as he plays a newlywed reporter who has a story fall into his lap as his wife Margia Steele takes a picture accidentally of some thugs leaving a butcher shop after roughing up the owner. They invade home and hearth of Barry and Steele to get the telltale photograph before it's developed.

It'a a one in a million shot that Barry just happens to be a reporter, but even newlywed domestic bliss doesn't deter him from his reporter's instincts. They go undercover to the ranch where the source of the rustling is.

That's what it is, plain and simple, cattle rustling like you've seen in hundreds of B westerns. But here it has a modern twist. The gang has several branches, the rustlers who use a ranch as a front for the cattle they steal. A slaughterhouse which we never see, but obviously has to be there. Finally on the city's mean streets, thugs are strong arming butcher's to take their uninspected meat just like in the days of Prohibition.

The movie moves quickly, but the story isn't well plotted out. And for comic purposes they have Sid Melton as a not too bright crook on the cattle ranch end with his 'girl' Iris Adrian who is two timing him with Marc Lawrence. Barry and Steele play Melton like a piccolo.

Though their places in the film are rather forced, I'm glad Adrian and Melton are there. They lend a bit of humor to an otherwise tedious noir film.

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