27 user 10 critic

The Man from Colorado (1948)

Approved | | Romance, Western | December 1948 (USA)
At the end of the Civil War, two friends return home to Colorado and one of them has changed and is violent and erratic.


Henry Levin


Robert Hardy Andrews (screenplay) (as Robert D. Andrews), Ben Maddow (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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Complete credited cast:
Glenn Ford ... Owen Devereaux
William Holden ... Del Stewart
Ellen Drew ... Caroline Emmet
Ray Collins ... Big Ed Carter
Edgar Buchanan ... Doc Merriam
Jerome Courtland ... Johnny Howard
James Millican ... Sgt. Jericho Howard
Jim Bannon ... Nagel
William 'Bill' Phillips ... York (as Wm. 'Bill' Phillips)


Two friends return home after their discharge from the army after the Civil War. However, one of them has had deep-rooted psychological damage due to his experiences during the war, and as his behavior becomes more erratic--and violent--his friend desperately tries to find a way to help him. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


COLORADO WASN'T BIG ENOUGH FOR BOTH...WHEN A WOMAN CAME BETWEEN THEM! (original print ad - all caps) See more »


Romance | Western


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

December 1948 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Der Richter von Colorado See more »


Box Office


$1,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Columbia Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Rare "bad-guy" role for Glenn Ford (I). See more »


When Johnny Howard pays the bartender with gold dust, the bartender weighs it with scales, but he pours the gold into the scale until it goes all the way down. The correct way to do it is to put the correct scale weight on one side and then pour the gold slowly into the other side until the scales are balanced. See more »


Owen Devereaux: [voiceover as he writes in his diary] I killed a hundred men today. I didn't want to. I couldn't help myself. What's wrong with me? I'm afraid... afraid I'm going crazy.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: Toward the close of the Civil War --- in the year 1865 --- in COLORADO

JACOB'S GORGE -- where the remnants of a confederate outfit are trapped -- See more »


Featured in Dawson's Creek: That Was Then (2003) See more »


Beautiful Dreamer
Written by Stephen Foster
Played at the dance and the wedding
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Fair to middlin'
14 November 2003 | by rmax304823See all my reviews

The story is a fairly simple one. Col. Glenn Ford and Capt. Bill Holden return with a group of fellow soldiers to their home town after the Civil War has ended. Ford has been a pretty ruthless officer. The town has changed during their three-year absence. Their only source of livelihood were their gold claims, but federal laws converted those claims to private property and the mines were gobbled up by Big Ray Collins.

Collins backs Ford for the post of federal judge, and Ford appoints his best friend Holden as chief lawman. The disappointed ex-soldiers bring their case to Judge Ford who finds in favor of Collins. Judge Ford also marries the girl, Ellen Drew, whom Holden also loves. Well, frankly, the ex-soldiers are thoroughly browned off at the loss of their claims even though Big Ray gives them jobs at a barely livable wage ("digging out our own gold") before firing them. Some of the men become bandits preying on Collins' gold. Some don't. But all of them grow to hate Judge Ford for upholding the law, even coming to his house during a birthday party and insulting him in front of his wife and his guest, the friendly doctor, Ed Buchanan. "I don't blame [Collins]," shouts one of the angry crowd, "I blame you!" Ford throws them out.

The plot gets too complicated to describe in any detail but it can be summed up by saying that Judge Ford slugs Holden for telling him he's "sick inside" (people tell Judge Ford that he's "crazy" so often in this movie that it's no wonder he doesn't believe it). His punishments, while within the law, become outrageous. It isn't so much that he's on the side of Big Ray and the suits. It's that he's on his own trip. The movie ends happily, more or less, with Ford gone and Big Ray destroyed, and Holden riding off to Washington to see that the ex-soldiers and the rest of the town get their just due. He smiles at Allen as he boards the train and tells her, "I'll be back."

It's been pointed out repeatedly that "adult westerns" -- that is, those appearing after everybody started watching cheap Hopalong Cassidy movies on TV -- are a chronicle of their times. {"High Noon" is the most often cited example, although nobody seems quite sure of exactly which point of view the film took.) "The Man from Colorado" is no exception. Released in 1948, it's full of references to war veterans and the problems they experience after returning to their home towns. And Glenn Ford has clearly been twisted by his wartime experiences, as have some character in other late- or post-war movies -- William Bendix in "The Blue Dahlia" or whatever it's called, who keeps hearing "monkey music" in his head, or John Garfield in "Pride of the Marines," or Brian Keith in "Five Against the House," I think it was.

The topical references are the most interesting part of the movie, but they are grafted onto an otherwise routine plot. The movie is overorchestrated. If the characters sang their lines it would be grand opera. The wardrobe is undistinguished. The settings are cheesy. When an unjustly accused young veteran is lying against the wall of his jail cell, it looks like what it is: a plaster wall with bricks painted on it. But Makeup should get a medal. Glenn Ford has worn various dos during his career, from bookeeper to flat-top but nothing like this pompador.

Watch it if nothing else is on.

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