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Released from jail, John Wesley Hardin leaves an account of his life with the local newspaper. It tells of his overly religious father, his resulting life of cards and guns, and his love for his step-sister replaced on her death during a gun fight with that for dance-hall girl Rosie. Written by
Jeremy Perkins <email@example.com>
"The Lawless Breed" attempts to tell the life story of John Wesley Hardin, the misunderstood gunfighter, from his point of view.
The story begins with Hardin (Rock Hudson) being released from prison after serving 16 of 25 years for murder. He goes to the local newspaper and presents the editor with a hand written story of his life. The film then flashes back to his youth where young "Wes" is practicing his fast draw. His father, Preacher J.G. Hardin (John McIntyre) takes a whip to him, condemning his life style. Wes decides to leave home and pursue his dream of earning enough money to buy a small horse ranch for himself and his sweetheart Jane Brown (Mary Castle).
The rest of the film can be summed up with the phrase, "I never killed anyone who didn't try to kill me first". He is forced to gun down gambler Gus Handley (Michael Ansara) which brings upon him the wrath of his three brothers, Ike (Hugh O'Brian), Dirk (Lee Van Cleef) and Ben (Glenn Strange).
While trying to escape a posse, Hardin hides out with his uncle John Clements (McIntyre again) and his sons Jim (Dennis Weaver) and Joe (Richard Garland). When he returns home to fetch Jane, she is killed during his escape from the farm. Hardin takes solace in the arms of "saloon girl" Rosie (Julia Adams) whom he later marries.
Ready to surrender to the law after his planned marriage, Hardin is double-crossed and...........................................
Rock Hudson, on the verge of becoming a super star, turns in an excellent performance as the troubled Hardin. He plays the character over a 20 year period. This was one of his first starring roles. He benefited greatly from the direction of the veteran director Raoul Walsh who managed to expose his real talent for the first time.
As in most of Universal's fast paced little eighty minute color westerns, there is plenty of action and beautiful Technicolor photography. It also had the benefit of a cast of recognizable supporting players, most of whom had appeared in countless "B" westerns. In addition to those already mentioned above, Steve Darrell appears as Sheriff Jenkins, Robert Anderson as Wild Bill Hickcock, Dick Wessel, Emory Parnell and I. Stanford Jolley as various bartenders, Francis Ford (brother of John) as a saloon sweeper and George Wallace as a saloon bully.
An entertaining western.
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