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Star in the Dust (1956)

A sheriff planning on legally hanging a killer, has to contend with farmers who want to lynch him, and cattlemen who want to help him escape.


(as Charles Haas)


(screenplay), (novel)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sheriff Bill Jorden
Ellen Ballard
Sam Hall
Nellie Mason
George Ballard
Orval Jones
Nan Hogan
Terry Gilkyson ...
The Music Man
Mike MacNamara
Lew Hogan
Jess Ryman
Robert Osterloh ...
Ben Smith
John Daheim ...
Jiggs Larribee (as John Day)
Leo Roos


The sheriff of Gunlock is planning to hang Sam Hall, who shot three farmers found on cattle land, at sundown. At the casino, betting is 8 to 3 he won't make it. The cattlemen are set to rescue Sam; the farmers hope to lynch him before he can be rescued; and Hall schemes for escape with his girl Nellie. But Sheriff Jorden is most concerned with finding out who hired Hall: a leading suspect is the sheriff's future brother-in-law. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis






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Release Date:

13 June 1956 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Law Man  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

2.00 : 1
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Did You Know?


A couple of townsmen hurry sheriff Jorden to make a decision, because "It's almost two o'clock"(pm). But later, while sheriff is firing back at ranchers from his office, there is a clock on the wall and the time it shows is around 10:30, though it's still daylight. See more »


Sam Hall: You annoy me, sheriff. When I leave your hotel I'm gonna squash you like I'd squash a bug.
See more »


Sam Hall
Written by Terry Gilkyson
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User Reviews

Will Sheriff John Agar succeed in getting killer Richard Boone hung?
19 August 2016 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Star in the Dust" (1956) is another good Universal adult western. It's very plot rich. There are many well-motivated interactions of the characters. They cannot be easily summarized, and there's no need to. They revolve around the fact that a hired gun (Richard Boone) has been sentenced to hang at sundown; and Sheriff John Agar is intent on getting the job done, despite facing off against farmers who want to lynch him and cattlemen who want to free him. Agar wants to find out who hired Boone. He suspects banker Leif Erickson, whose sister (Mamie Van Doren) is his intended bride. Colleen Gray has been Boone's girl. Boone made advances at one time to Harry Morgan's wife (Randy Stuart), and she actually had a torrid affair with Erickson in the past. Meanwhile the schoolteacher (Robert Osterloh) has visions of leading the farmers and taking over the town. Most everyone annoys Agar by comparing him to his father who was the previous sheriff.

The story is told in a somewhat deliberate way, rather heavy, and that's the downside of the rich plotting. This is not a western with horseplay, scenery or attention to period detail. It's quite psychological and dramatic in nature, developing characters in some detail and showing the pressures they are placed under. There are two male fights and one superior stunt. There's enough other action, including a female fight, to carry one through.

Not a great western, but certainly a good one worth taking in. I believe that Netflix has shown this running 80 minutes, in full screen. The foreign dvds do not say that they are widescreen.

Clint Eastwood is in here briefly, talking to Agar about the odds that Boone will hang. That's about 7 minutes in.

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