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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


He Fought the Fury of the Apache Warpath - While his back was the target for 100 guns! 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?


The title of the film, Tumbleweed, is the name of the horse that Audie Murphy acquires about halfway through the film. See more »


When Jim rips a mesquite bush out of the ground to cover the cave mouth, the roots of the bush have obviously been cut. 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

A man's best friend is his horse.
13 July 2014 | by SpikeopathSee all my reviews

Tumbleweed is directed by Nathan Juran and adapted to screenplay by John Meredyth Lucas from the novel "Three Were Renegades" written by Kenneth Perkins. It stars Audie Murphy, Chill Wills, Lori Nelson, Roy Roberts, Russell Johnson, Lee Van Cleef, K.T. Stevens and Madge Meredith. Music is by Joseph Gershenson and cinematography by Russell Metty.

It's atypical Audie Murphy fare, which for his fans (of which I'm firmly one) is enough for a rollicking good time. Plot has Murphy as Jim Harvey, a Wagon Train leader who mistakenly gets called out for being a coward when the train he is leading is attacked by the Yaqui Indians, leaving all the men folk dead. Forced to evade lynch mobs and the law, he goes on the lam, armed with only his wits and an aging horse called Tumbleweed.

What follows for the 80 minute run time is plenty of action and near scrapes, some barely concealed romantic yearnings, and of course heroics from both man and beast. The locations used for the story are gorgeous, as Death Valley and Vasquez Rocks form a mightily impressive back drop to the unfolding drama. While stunts and machismo are up to the requisite standard. Cast are fine, with Audie being Audie, Wills a gruff lawman and Cleef in loose cannon side-kick mode. The girls are mere tokens, but the beauty of Nelson and Meredith is breath taking. While costuming (Bill Thomas) is high end as well.

A Technicolor treat for Murphy and B Western fans. 7/10

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