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The Tin Star (1957)

Approved | | Western | 6 November 1957 (USA)
A cynical former sheriff turned bounty hunter helps a young, recently appointed acting sheriff with his advice, his experience and his gun.



(story), | 1 more credit »

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Morgan 'Morg' Hickman
Sheriff Ben Owens
Nona Mayfield
Kip Mayfield
Bart Bogardus
Dr. Joseph Jefferson 'Doc' McCord
Mary Webster ...
Millie Parker
Peter Baldwin ...
Zeke McGaffey
Richard Shannon ...
Buck Henderson
Ed McGaffey
Judge Thatcher
Howard Petrie ...
Mayor Harvey King
Clem Hall
Hal K. Dawson ...
Andy Miller
Sam Hodges


Veteran bounty-hunter Morg Hickman rides into a town in danger. The sheriff has been killed, and young inexperienced Ben Owens named a temporary replacement until a permanent can be found. Ben wants to be that permanent replacement, so needs to impress the townspeople with his skill. When he finds that Morg was a sheriff for a long time before he became a bounty-hunter, he asks the older man to teach him. Morg thinks that being a sheriff is a foolish goal, but agrees to instruct Ben in handling people, more important to a sheriff than handling a gun. Written by Ken Yousten <kyousten@bev.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




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Release Date:

6 November 1957 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Stern des Gesetzes  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


James Stewart was originally supposed to play Morgan Hickman. See more »


Throughout the film, Ben is shown wearing two guns, and as Tony Perkins was left handed, whenever he draws his pistol, his left hands is correctly depicted as dominant. Yet at one point in a scene during Ben's search for the McGaffey brothers, his horse with Ben on his back, whirls around to reveal Ben only wearing one gun, and that being holstered on his right hip. See more »


[first lines]
Sheriff Ben Owens: Uh, ju-just getting the feel of these guns.
Morg Hickman: Where's the sheriff?
See more »

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User Reviews

You can master a gun if you got the knack. Harder to learn men.
19 February 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

It doesn't matter what the genre is, when the writing is great, then the film will usually be great also. This Oscar-nominated film had a superb script that made everything else look fantastic.

Henry Fonda is an ex-sheriff turned bounty hunter that appears in town to collect his reward. He has to wait until it comes, so he ends up befriending the town outcast - Betsy Palmer (before she became Jason's mom), a woman with a half-breed child, and helping the new Sheriff - Anthony Perkins, before he went Psycho and killed his mom.

Fonda gave a measured and stirring performance in a role that was supposed to go to Jimmy Stewart. In the process of helping others, he was able to find himself and turn his life around.

In a humorous scene old Doc McCord (John McIntire) had just delivered the 12th child to a farmer that lived in the sticks. It was 2:30 am and he leaned back to sleep in his carriage and told his horse to head home saying, "You probably know the way better than I do." Now, that is the kind of cruise control we don't have on our modern vehicles! A great film that shows how important writers are to the movies.

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