The Lawless Breed (1953)

Not Rated  |   |  Action, Biography, Western  |  3 January 1953 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 653 users  
Reviews: 18 user | 10 critic

After being released from prison, former gun-fighter John Wesley Hardin hopes to have his autobiography published in order to rehabilitate his tarnished reputation.



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Complete credited cast:
Rosie McCoy (as Julia Adams)
Mary Castle ...
J.G. Hardin / John Clements
Ike Hanley
Jim Clements
Forrest Lewis ...
Zeke Jenkins
Dirk Hanley
Tom Fadden ...
Chick Noonan, Undertaker
Race Gentry ...
Young John Hardin
Richard Garland ...
Joe Clements
Ben Hanley
William Pullen ...
Joe Hardin


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


He cut a swath of daring across the great southwest!


Not Rated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

3 January 1953 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Gefährliches Blut  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The real John Wesley Hardin was a vicious, remorseless killer who murdered at least 43 people, some from ambush, some shot in the back and one for snoring too loudly. The actual number of people he killed is still unknown. See more »


Mid-point in the film, as the wounded Hardin is being helped into hiding by his uncle, a two-trailer truck drives by in the background, clearly visible. See more »


John Wesley Hardin: I don't back up from any man unless he was my pa.
See more »


Featured in Rock Hudson's Home Movies (1992) See more »

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User Reviews

The Misunderstood Gunfighter!
28 May 2007 | by (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) – See all my reviews

"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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