25 user 14 critic

The Lawless Breed (1952)

Approved | | Western | 3 January 1953 (USA)
After being released from prison, former gun-fighter John Wesley Hardin hopes to have his autobiography published in order to rehabilitate his tarnished reputation.


Raoul Walsh


John Wesley Hardin (based on the life of John Wesley Hardin as written by himself), Bernard Gordon (screenplay) | 1 more credit »




Complete credited cast:
Rock Hudson ... John Wesley Hardin
Julie Adams ... Rosie McCoy (as Julia Adams)
Mary Castle ... Jane Brown
John McIntire ... J.G. Hardin / John Clements
Hugh O'Brian ... Ike Hanley
Dennis Weaver ... Jim Clements
Forrest Lewis ... Zeke Jenkins
Lee Van Cleef ... Dirk Hanley
Tom Fadden ... Chick Noonan - Undertaker
Race Gentry ... Young John Hardin
Richard Garland ... Joe Clements
Glenn Strange ... Ben Hanley
William Pullen William Pullen ... Joe Hardin


Released from jail, John Wesley Hardin leaves an account of his life with the local newspaper. It tells of his overly religious father, his resulting life of cards and guns, and his love for his step-sister replaced on her death during a gun fight with that for dance-hall girl Rosie. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


He cut a swath of daring across the great southwest! See more »




Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The real John Wesley Hardin was a sadistic, sociopathic killer who murdered at least 43 people, many from ambush, some shot in the back and one for snoring too loudly. The actual number of people he killed is still unknown. A raging alcoholic, many of his most murderous sprees were fueled by his prodigious consumption of the almost toxic hard liquor of those days. See more »


At about 30 minutes in, when Hardin returns with a wedding dress to marry Jane, she removes the glass chimney from an oil lamp to blow it out. Everyone knows that the glass of an oil lamp, that is burning, would inflict severe burns to your hands and the proper way to extinguish it is to place a hand just behind the chimney opening and blow it out or just turn the wick down to snuff it. See more »


John Clements: What are you doing on the trail? Trying to pick up a little stray business?
Chick Noonan: I pick up business any place I can find it. Business was good in Abilene. I had a special embalming and burying job on the Durango Kid. And if I do say so myself, when he was laid out, his own wife didn't even know him. She thought he was a stranger asleep in the parlor.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: Texas State Penitentiary-1896

The"Badmen"of the West, the Jameses, the Daltons, the Ringos, and Youngers, are now part of American folk-lore. Research has added another name to the list- JOHN WESLEY HARDIN.

Hardin's story is unique because it was written by the man himself. This extraordinary testament, now a collector's item, was published in Seguin, Texas in 1896. See more »


Referenced in Notes from the Blacklist (2011) See more »

User Reviews

Raoul Walsh Tells Another Tall Tale
19 July 2019 | by bobliptonSee all my reviews

John Wesley Hardin never murdered a man. First they would admit to dealing him seconds at cards, then they would draw on him, so he would reluctantly take out his gun and shoot them in the back. Hardin was a proud man, being Rock Hudson and all, so what choice did he have? We know this is true, because he wrote this down himself. Hardin claimed to have killed more than 40 men, all in self-defense. He is known to have killed about two-thirds that number, one because his snoring annoyed him.

Raoul Walsh directed this Universal western in the long afternoon of his improbably long career. According to his memoirs -- which is filled with improbable and entertaining lies -- Jack Pickford once remarked that Walsh's idea of light comedy was to burn down a brothel. Even his name was a fiction (he was really Albert Walsh), and he was considered the right man to direct this movie because of the violence of WHITE HEAT, and anyone who could get a good performance out of Jimmy Cagney could get one out of Rock Hudson.

With John McIntire, Hugh O'Brien, Lee Van Cleef and Julie Adams's legs.

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Release Date:

3 January 1953 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bad Man with a Gun See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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