An English woman and her daughter enlist the aid of a cowboy to try and get their hardy hornless bull to mate with the longhorns of Texas, but have to overcome both greedy criminals and the natural elements.
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When her husband dies en route to America, Martha Price and her daughter Hilary are left to carry out his dream: the introduction of Hereford cattle into the American West. They enlist Sam "Bulldog" Burnett in their efforts to transport their lone bull, a Hereford named Vindicator, to a breeder in Texas, but the trail is fraught with danger and even Burnett doubts the survival potential of this "rare breed" of cattle. Written by
Greg Helton <email@example.com>
The accident involving the wagon carrying Martha and Hilary ahead of the stampede was real and kept in the film. The women were supposed to be thrown clear, but instead the wagon rolled over them. Fortunately, there was a pit underneath the wagon allowing the stuntwomen, Stephanie Epper and Patty Elder, enough space to be kept from being crushed. They survived with slight injuries and shock. Director Andrew V. McLaglen kept the scene in the film. See more »
Vindicator the BULL is played by a Hereford steer. See more »
What on earth are they doing?
It's called bulldogging, ma'am. That's Bulldog Burnett. He works for my outfit.
Well, it's a perfectly silly way to handle cattle if you ask me.
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The Rare Breed is the second of four films James Stewart did with director Andrew V. McLaglen. This is a fictionalized account about how Hereford cattle came to the great state of Texas. In this film Stewart brought a breeding bull together with his owners, Maureen O'Hara and Juliet Mills.
The question of course is whether the breed can stand up to a harsh and cruel Texas winter and breed calves. I guess since in real life there are a whole lot of Hertford cattle all over the USA now, the answer is they could. Of course in the film it involved some sacrifice in regard to some notions the women had, especially Juliet Mills who regards the bull Vindicator as a family pet.
Stewart's character, Sam 'Bulldog' Burnett has a bit of the rogue to him, but he certainly turns out to be the decent reliable Jimmy Stewart that movie audiences for three generations loved. Irish born Maureen is a proper English lady and Juliet Mills does very well as the daughter.
In her memoirs Maureen O'Hara said that some scenes she states she stole from Jimmy Stewart got cut from the final print. In watching The Rare Breed tonight, there were some illusions to some banter and a horse race that we just see the finish of. I'm sure that was what she was referring to although it's pure speculation as to the reason for the edit.
But if Maureen was worried about scene stealing, the guy who stole the film completely is Brian Keith. He plays the Scotch Texas cattle baron with proper brogue and a wild appearance. When we first see him, he's a real frontier character with a possible aversion to soap and water. Maureen has a civilizing affect on him and Keith becomes a rival to Stewart for her affections. He's quite a sight in the uniform of his former Highland regiment playing the bagpipes.
The Rare Breed doesn't rank up there with most of the Anthony Mann westerns of the Fifties. But it's entertaining enough and nothing anyone in the cast need be ashamed of.
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