The Tin Star (1957)

Approved  |   |  Western  |  31 January 1958 (Finland)
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 3,356 users  
Reviews: 35 user | 19 critic

A cynical former sheriff turned bounty hunter helps a young, recently appointed acting sheriff with his advice, his experience and his gun.



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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
Michel Ray ...
Kip Mayfield
Bart Bogardus
Dr. Joseph Jefferson 'Doc' McCord
Mary Webster ...
Millie Parker
Peter Baldwin ...
Zeke McGaffey
Richard Shannon ...
Buck Henderson
Ed McGaffey
James Bell ...
Judge Thatcher
Howard Petrie ...
Mayor Harvey King
Russell Simpson ...
Clem Hall
Hal K. Dawson ...
Andy Miller
Jack Kenney ...
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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




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Release Date:

31 January 1958 (Finland)  »

Also Known As:

Der Stern des Gesetzes  »

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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?


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?
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User Reviews

The Western as an Art Form
12 August 1999 | by (Cleveland, Ohio) – See all my reviews

This film is a classic. Henry Fonda as the lone bounty hunter,

Anthony Perkins as the tyro Sheriff. Fonda plays this one close to the chest, minimal dialog, maximum emotional effect. Only Jimmy Stewart underplays a western tough guy as well as Fonda.

We have all the necessary ingredients for a fine screenplay. We have greed, hate, violence, racism, ignorance, and just plain human decency all exposed on screen with an even pace to measure the morals meted out by Fonda's character as the plot unfolds.

You want both to be a character in this story and yet stay as far away from it as possible.

So it fails as a fairy tale, but succeeds in taking our souls for a walk outside our values and qualifies as a fine tale of human endeavor.

See this film, the western context only enhances the plot line.

I highly recommend it.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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