13 user 6 critic

The Bushwhackers (1951)

Approved | | Western | October 1951 (USA)
An evil arthritic rancher and his murderous daughter are having settlers killed to prevent them from selling their land to the railroad.



(screenplay) (as Thomas S. Gries), (screenplay)

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Back from the Civil War, an ex-Yankee officer aids a wagon train of former Confederates settle in a prosperous valley marred by cattle-rustling and land-grabbing feuds.

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Marshal John Harding
Sam Tobin
Cathy Sharpe
Artemus Taylor (as Lon Chaney)
Norah Taylor
Peter Sharpe
William Holmes ...
'Ding' Bell (as Bill Holmes)
Ward Wood ...
Second Henchman (as Bob Wood)
Justin Stone
Deputy Yale
Gordon Wynn ...
John Quigley (as Gordon Wynne)


Plot here has Confederate veteran Jeff Waring arriving in Independence, Missouri shortly after the Civil War, and intending never again to use a gun. He finds that rancher Artemus Taylor, an arthritic despot, and his henchies, Sam Tobin and Cree, are forcing out the settlers in order to claim their land for the incoming railroad. The plot nearly predates "The Great Train Robbery" in age, but the gritty execution, and well-acted performances, take it out of the norm, way out, in a couple of instances. Brassy Myrna Dell is on hand as Taylor's independent daughter, only slightly less meaner than her father, and the always welcome Dorothy Malone is the pretty school marm on the side of good. Ireland's passive outlook on life changes before the end. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


REVENGE - Frightening in it's Naked Fury!




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Release Date:

October 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Rebel  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Jefferson Waring: I can't feel a thing for ya, Taylor. You're a beaten old man and I'm not sorry. You've ruined so many lives yours isn't even a down payment.
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User Reviews

Promising Cast, Spotty Western
26 October 2016 | by See all my reviews

A pacifist-minded ex-Confederate gets caught up in a land war as he seeks a new life in post- Civil War Missouri.

Considering the bizarre cast, I guess I was hoping for too much. After all, the compelling Tierney, Elam, Chaney Jr. and Dell are all established movie toughies. Then there's the unpredictable Ireland and Morris, performers comfortable playing with a wobbly moral compass. And finally there's the luscious Malone playing the good citizen, though she could also wobble when necessary, e.g. Written On The Wind (1955). Trouble is Tierney's entirely wasted, disappearing early on. No scary stare or frozen face here. As a result, there's no logical showdown between him and Ireland, as dramatically promising as that would be. Also, Chaney only gets a few minutes of loopy screen time, while Morris seems unsure of what he's supposed to do as the Marshal. And the latter's really too bad since the Marshal's uncertainty could be the story's most interesting character.

The narrative itself is fairly familiar—greedy plotters trying to drive settlers off their land so they can cash in on the railway coming through. Not exactly a ground-breaking premise. On the other hand, shifting alliances among the town folk add character interest, while a restrained Ireland carries the film even though in a clichéd role. Still, I like the fact that the settlers organize themselves without waiting for the hero to save the day. That's a good non- clichéd touch.

All in all, I'm wondering how a budget indie like this was able to assemble such an exotic cast, and whether they had to haul legendary juicers like Tierney and Chaney out of the nearest Hollywood bar. Too bad the screenplay didn't make better use of these colorful characters. That would have made something truly memorable. Instead, we get an unexceptional if occasionally interesting western.

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