5.4/10
166
6 user 6 critic

High Lonesome (1950)

Approved | | Western | 1 September 1950 (USA)
When a sudden spurt of murders occurs in Texas Big Bend country, suspicion immediately falls on a young drifter who just moved to the area.

Director:

Alan Le May

Writer:

Alan Le May
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
John Drew Barrymore ... Cooncat (as John Barrymore Jr.)
Chill Wills ... Boatwhistle, Ranch Cook
John Archer ... Pat Farrell
Lois Butler Lois Butler ... Meagan Davis
Kristine Miller ... Abby Davis
Basil Ruysdael ... 'Horse' Davis, Ranch Owner
Jack Elam ... Smiling Man
Dave Kashner ... Roper
Frank Cordell Frank Cordell ... Frank
Clem Fuller ... Dixie
Hugh Aiken Hugh Aiken ... Art Simms
Howard Joslin Howard Joslin ... Jim Shell
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Storyline

In Texas' Big Bend country, a young drifter is caught stealing food at the Davis ranch. The Davis clan and the hired hands are immediately suspicious of the young runaway. They nickname him Cooncat. They all suspect Cooncat of running from the law for some crime he committed but he claims to have only run-away from an abusive father who beat him. Nevertheless, the ranch hired hands rough him up until he admits he has committed a murder. Cooncat reveals he killed Jim Shell, the owner of a trading post because the man stole Cooncat's money. He claims that two drifters hiding in the nearby ruins of a house egged him on and even gave him a revolver to commit the murder. However, his recollection is hazy since he was hit over the head by the trading post owner right when he was about to shoot him. No one at the Davis ranch believes his story, except Meagan Davis, the daughter of the Davis patriarch. Cooncat offers to take the men to the trading post to see the body of the murdered owner. ... Written by nufs68

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Ghost fingers pressed the trigger - and death flashed from the shadows... See more »

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 September 1950 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Deadfall See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Soundtracks

20 Miles From Carson
by Chill Wills and Alan Le May (uncredited)
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User Reviews

Oddball Western
10 November 2010 | by dougdoepkeSee all my reviews

Oddball Western drama. There's no commanding central character to hang your hat on. Barrymore Jr. headlines, but his "Cooncat" stands more for misunderstood youth than as a force for good. Actually, several characters alternate in the spotlight, crippled old Davis (Ruysdael) being the most commanding, with his spirited daughter Abby (Miller) not far behind. Then too, there's a very un-Western hint of the spooky in the "ghost" figures lurking in the background. That "horse dragging" sequence is unusual and more brutal than expected. If Barrymore had padding to ease the abrasion, I couldn't spot it.

It's a pretty cluttered screenplay with a number of characters and episodes drifting in and out that makes it difficult at times to keep up with. Nonetheless, it's a good original story with a number of nice touches, including the barn dance; plus, the wide open vistas of southwest Texas (where the epic Giant {1955} was filmed). I also like the way that underneath the sub- plots, the film is really about the hapless kid finding a home. Note that the character Cooncat foreshadows a popular theme of the coming decade—misunderstood youth, especially as popularized by James Dean several years later.

I expect the un-tried Barrymore was given top billing for box office purposes. He tries hard, and after all his character is based on anger and frustration since nobody believes him and is about to hang him. The only scene I can spot where he clearly over-acts is when describing the two horsemen to Boatwhistle (Wills). Otherwise, I see him as giving a logically emotional performance.

Anyway, I liked the film as an entertainingly offbeat Western.


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