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Desert Killer (1952)

Approved | | Short, Adventure, Drama | 27 June 1953 (USA)
A hunter tracks a sheep-killing cougar.



Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »


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Credited cast:
Himself - Narrator (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Marvin Glenn ...
Himself - Rancher


Five year old native American, Surefoot, lives in the Arizona desert with his mother. He has become the man of the family following the death of his father. His mother is trying to supplement their meager sheep farming income by selling her handicrafts roadside. Despite those crafts being the best in the area, the cars just go whizzing by without stopping. Surefoot has taken over the sheep herding duties, which would be much easier if he had a sheepdog to help him, but they cannot afford one. One of the duties of a sheepdog would be to keep the mountain lions at bay from killing the herd. Even when Surefoot finds a puppy, his mother will not allow him to keep it. As such, Surefoot gives the puppy to neighboring rancher Marvin Glenn, known as the best lion killer of the area. So when news of a mountain lion killing some of Surefoot's herd comes to light, Marvin and his son Warren come to the rescue. However, Marvin believes there is a better use for the lion to help Surefoot's family ... Written by Huggo

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Short | Adventure | Drama






Release Date:

27 June 1953 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Narrator: Just goes to show there's more than one way to skin a cat... or, uh, maybe sometimes it's a whole lot smarter to leave the skin on. Ain't that right, Sure Foot... Huh?
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User Reviews

A curious misfire of a real-life documentary short...
17 August 2011 | by (U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

The only thing that keeps this one afloat is the capture of a cougar by a rancher and his son who know how to rope a mountain lion when he's up in a tree. Otherwise, the story surrounding that scene of capture is suspiciously drummed up by a screenwriter who spins a slight tale about an Indian boy and his encounter with the cowboy after the boy finds a pup that he must give away.

The Technicolor in this short is the film's greatest asset, as is the outdoor desert scenery--but the story is pure hokum.

Narrated by Art Gilmore, it does have a few tense moments once the rancher has managed to collar the cougar with a few ropes, but other than that the story is uninspired. Hard to believe this won an Oscar for best short subject back in 1952.

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