The Lusty Men (1952)

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When he sustains a rodeo injury, star rider Jeff McCloud returns to his hometown after many years of absence. He signs on as a hired hand with a local ranch, where he befriends fellow ranch... See full summary »


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Complete credited cast:
Louise Merritt
Jeff McCloud
Wes Merritt
Booker Davis
Al Dawson
Walter Coy ...
Buster Burgess
Carol Nugent ...
Rusty Davis
Maria Hart ...
Rosemary Maddox
Lorna Thayer ...
Grace Burgess
Jeremiah Watrus
Karen Randle ...
Ginny Logan (as Karen King)
Jimmie Dodd ...
Red Logan
Eleanor Todd ...


When he sustains a rodeo injury, star rider Jeff McCloud returns to his hometown after many years of absence. He signs on as a hired hand with a local ranch, where he befriends fellow ranch hand Wes and his wife Louise. Wes has big dreams of owning his own little farm, and rodeo winnings could help finance it. Wes convinces Jeff to coach him in the rodeo ways, but Louise has her doubts. She doesn't want her man to end up a broken down rodeo bum like Jeff McCloud. Despite Louise's concern, the threesome hit the road in their Woody, chucking a secure present for an unknown future. Will they find success or sorrow? This picture features plenty of rodeo action and thrills. Written by Thomas McWilliams <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A Fast Buck... A Fast Bronc... A Fast Thrill!


Action | Drama | Western


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Release Date:

24 October 1952 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cowpoke  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Robert Parrish directed for several days when Nicholas Ray fell ill. See more »


During the Tucson Rodeo sequence, bull rider [Chet?] Peterson switches hands mid-ride. See more »


Wes Merritt: A fella's bankroll could get fat in a hurry, rodeoin'.
Jeff McCloud: Bahh... Chicken today, feathers tomorrow.
Wes Merritt: Not if he played it smart when he had the chicken.
See more »


Referenced in Robert Mitchum: The Reluctant Star (1991) See more »

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User Reviews

Life On the Rodeo Circuit
8 October 2005 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

One of Robert Mitchum's best films from his days at RKO is The Lusty Men about the rodeo circuit. Mitchum plays Jeff McCloud a burned out rodeo rider who spots some potential star talent in Wes Merritt. He also spots Merritt's wife and the Merritts are played by Arthur Kennedy and Susan Hayward.

Mitchum's been thrown by one too many bulls and horses and he's a burned out man. Still the allure of the circuit holds him in sway. He mentors Kennedy until they come to a parting of the ways and not just over Susan Hayward. The part is a perfect fit for Mitchum, his own footloose past made him understand the character of Jeff McCloud and bring it to life.

This was the first of two films Mitchum did with Susan Hayward. She's clearly in support of him and she knows it. Her big moment on screen is dispatching a rodeo groupie at a party who had designs on Arthur Kennedy. Her footage had to be shot first, according to Lee Server's biography of Mitchum, as Hayward had a commitment in Africa to shoot The Snows of Kilimanjaro.

Among the supporting cast Arthur Hunnicutt, one of the biggest scene stealers around, is very good as another burned out rodeo rider. Mitchum looks at him and sees that is his future. In fact in the end, so does Kennedy.

The Lusty Men is a fine depiction of rodeo life, ranking up there with the later Junior Bonner and 8 Seconds. Good entertainment all around.

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