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Tumbleweed (1953)

Approved | | Western | December 1953 (USA)
When a wagon train is wiped-out by the Yaqui Indians, the surviving guide Jim Harvey is accused of desertion and cowardice but Jim escapes the town jail in search of the truth.


Nathan Juran


John Meredyth Lucas (screenplay), Kenneth Perkins (novel)


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Audie Murphy ... Jim Harvey
Lori Nelson ... Laura Saunders
Chill Wills ... Sheriff Murchoree
Roy Roberts ... Nick Buckley
Russell Johnson ... Lam Blanden
K.T. Stevens ... Louella Buckley
Madge Meredith ... Sarah Blanden
Lee Van Cleef ... Marv
I. Stanford Jolley ... Ted
Ross Elliott ... Seth Blanden
Ralph Moody ... Aguila
Eugene Iglesias ... Tigre
Phil Chambers ... Trapper Ross
Lyle Talbot ... Weber
King Donovan ... Wrangler


Jim Harvey is hired to guard a small wagon train as it makes its way west. The train is attacked by Indians and Harvey, hoping to persuade Aguila, the chief, to call off the attack due to Harvey's having saved his son's life, leaves the train to negotiate. He is captured and the rest of the train is wiped out except for two sisters. Escaping and showing up in town later, Harvey is nearly hanged as a deserter, but gets away. Eventually caught by the sheriff and his posse, they are attacked by Indians. This time the Indians are defeated and Aguila, captured and dying, reveals the identity of the white man who engineered the initial attack on the wagon train, just as the perpetrator rides up behind them. Written by Doug Sederberg <vornoff@sonic.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The story of Jim Harvey...the savage terror he faced...the desert woman he loved! See more »




Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

December 1953 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Three Were Renegades See more »

Company Credits

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?


This movie was also known by the alternative title of "Three Were Renegades," the title of the 1937 novel 'Three Were Thoroughbreds' by Kenneth Taylor Perkins which the film was based and had been previously filmed as the 1948 film "Relentless." See more »


Coyote Springs is dry, and Jim Harvey is dying of thirst, but his horse "Tumbleweed" digs a new spring, saving them. As Harvey leaves, he sees sheriff Murchorse ride up, walk into the dry spring bed, and collapse. Harvey returns to save the sheriff's life, giving him water, and uncovering the waterhole his horse dug. In the background, beginning at 1:01:28, and clearly visible at 1:01:50 is a wide stream of water. See more »


Trapper Ross: I told you, you fly with jailbirds and you get dirty wings.
See more »


Featured in Biography: Audie Murphy: Great American Hero (1996) See more »

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User Reviews

People and horse give great performances
13 April 2016 | by morrisonhimselfSee all my reviews

With lesser performers and a less-capable director, probably this would have been a lesser movie.

But with the terribly under-rated Audie Murphy, the veteran and versatile character actor Chill Wills, the lovely Lori Nelson, and the later-in-his-life-wildly-popular Lee Van Cleef, among many others, "Tumbleweed" earns high praise.

Oh, and the title character himself? No credit is given for the superlative horse actor. Which is a shame, especially considering how many movies have the performing horse's name above the title, even when he doesn't show as much talent as this one.

This story is involved, although I figured out the bad guy early on. Still, even if you know pretty quickly, you will be on edge wondering how he finally gets caught and, more important, how the hero manages to clear his name -- IF either ever happens.

"Tumbleweed" is a movie I never had heard of before seeing it at YouTube on 13 April 2016.

That print is out of sync for much of the presentation, and another print is too dark to watch.

Still, never mind: It's a good movie. I recommend it.

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