Retired rodeo champion Jeff McCloud agrees to mentor novice rodeo contestant Wes Merritt against the wishes of Merritt's wife who fears the dangers of this rough sport.


Nicholas Ray, Robert Parrish (uncredited)


Horace McCoy (written for the screen by), David Dortort (written for the screen by) | 1 more credit »





Complete credited cast:
Susan Hayward ... Louise Merritt
Robert Mitchum ... Jeff McCloud
Arthur Kennedy ... Wes Merritt
Arthur Hunnicutt ... Booker Davis
Frank Faylen ... Al Dawson
Walter Coy ... Buster Burgess
Carol Nugent ... Rusty Davis
Maria Hart ... Rosemary Maddox
Lorna Thayer ... Grace Burgess
Burt Mustin ... Jeremiah Watrus
Karen Randle ... Ginny Logan (as Karen King)
Jimmie Dodd ... Red Logan
Eleanor Todd ... Babs


When he sustains a rodeo injury, star rider Jeff McCloud returns to his hometown after many years of absence. He signs on as a hired hand with a local ranch, where he befriends fellow ranch hand Wes and his wife Louise. Wes has big dreams of owning his own little farm, and rodeo winnings could help finance it. Wes convinces Jeff to coach him in the rodeo ways, but Louise has her doubts. She doesn't want her man to end up a broken down rodeo bum like Jeff McCloud. Despite Louise's concern, the threesome hit the road in their Woody, chucking a secure present for an unknown future. Will they find success or sorrow? This picture features plenty of rodeo action and thrills. Written by Thomas McWilliams <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A Fast Buck... A Fast Bronc... A Fast Thrill!


Action | Drama | Sport | Western


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Did You Know?


Robert Parrish directed for several days when Nicholas Ray fell ill. See more »


During the Tucson Rodeo sequence, bull rider [Chet?] Peterson switches hands mid-ride. See more »


Rusty Davis: [Meeting Wes for the first time] You're new, ain't ya'?
Wes Merritt: Yeah.
Rusty Davis: Got two bits?
Wes Merritt: Sure.
Rusty Davis: Gimme'.
Rusty Davis: [Takes his money, then turns to Booker] Okay, let him have a look.
Booker Davis: [Pulls up his pant leg, revealing his scarred and mangled right leg] You ever see anything like that before?
Wes Merritt: [Slightly shocked] Sure is the worst lookin' leg *I've* ever seen.
Booker Davis: Twenty years rodeoin' done that. Leg busted nine times, kneecap five, and the ankle four.
Jeff McCloud: Booker's got just about the most busted leg in the world.
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Referenced in Kings of the Road (1976) See more »

User Reviews

A kind of Casablanca of westerns? ...
17 July 2016 | by AlsExGalSee all my reviews

where the enemy is time and your own over-confidence and not those nasty Nazis? That MIGHT describe it The magnificently laconic Robert Mitchum turns in one of his most captivating performances in Nicholas Ray's brilliant modern day western.

Set in the down and dusty world of professional rodeo riders, it also stars Susan Hayward and Arthur Kennedy. Mitchum is Jeff McCloud, a former rodeo star, now somewhat adrift and down on his luck. He stumbles into town and quickly latches onto Wes and Louise, a married couple with aspirations of someday having a place of their own. Wes also harbors dreams of becoming a star on the rodeo circuit, a world McCloud is all too familiar with and one that Wes figures could be his ticket to a more rewarding life. It doesn't take a whole lot of encouragement on Wes' part to convince McCloud to become his mentor and before long this trio is on the road in search of those elusive cowboy dreams. Likewise it doesn't take a genius to figure out that an uncomfortable romantic triangle will emerge, sparking an unsettling and inevitable chain of events.

This is one Nicholas Ray film that rarely gets mentioned, yet it is one of the director's most emotionally satisfying works. Masterfully shot in black & white by Lee Garmes ( "NIGHTMARE ALLEY", "PORTRAIT OF JENNIE", "CAUGHT", etc) it has a beautifully lived-in look that enhances the exotic world it portrays. The performances are all sterling and the dialogue provided for them (most likely compliments of Horace McCoy, one of the most remarkably and honestly expressive writers of the period) rings remarkably true even in the midst of some overtly romanticized (it is a Nicholas Ray film, after all) moments.

The rodeo sequences are exceptionally exciting. Of course, the movie is quite atmospheric and nicely captures the lifestyle of the rodeo crowd. There are some exciting moments (like Wes riding Yo-Yo) and some great lines. ("Men... I'd like to fry 'em all in deep fat!") Highly recommended, and you don't necessarily even have to be a western fan, just a student of human nature.

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Release Date:

24 October 1952 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

This Man is Mine See more »

Filming Locations:

Phoenix, Arizona, USA See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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