6 user 4 critic

Black Horse Canyon (1954)

Approved | | Drama, Romance, Western | June 1954 (USA)
The story of a wild black stallion and the cowboys who set out to capture him.


Jesse Hibbs


Daniel Mainwaring (screenplay) (as Geoffrey Homes), David Lang (adaptation) | 1 more credit »




Cast overview:
Joel McCrea ... Del Rockwell
Mari Blanchard ... Aldis Spain
Race Gentry ... Ti
Murvyn Vye ... Jennings
Irving Bacon ... Doc
John Pickard ... Duke
Ewing Mitchell Ewing Mitchell ... Sheriff
Pilar Del Rey Pilar Del Rey ... Juanita


In spite of the more-than-pedestrian B-title, this minor-A western from Universal is more of a character study of three people than it is a run-of-the-mill western. It has only a couple of gunshots and no killings and no blood-letting, and is ideally suited for the laconic, take-it-easy and laid-back nature of the always-great Joel McCrea as Del "Rock" Rockwell. Here, he is a man wise to the nature of women and horses, attemptiing to establish a homestead with the aid of his adopted-son Til (Race Gentry). They join neighboring rancher Alida Spain (Mari Blanchard) in her quest to capture a wild black stallion (Outlaw). Rockwell taunts her while the 20-year-old Til falls in love with her and she, of course, is falling in love with Rockwell. Neighboring rancher Jennings (Murvyn Vye) brings some conflict to the proceedings but nothing that Rockwell can't handle without the use of guns. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A MAN...TOUGH ENOUGH TO TAME THEM BOTH! (original poster-all caps) See more »


Drama | Romance | Western


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Much of the footage of Highland Dale,the horse playing Outlaw,is lifted from 'Red Canyon' [1949] which also featured the equine actor who also had the title role in the television series 'Fury'. See more »


When both Rockwell and Aldis work with Black Horse, it is always rearing up, but they are clearly making a gesture that the horse is trained to rear up to. They always raise their arms just a second before he rears up, clearly controlling the horse with their gesture. The gesture is made to look like a defensive response to the horse rearing (like they are shielding themselves from the horse's hooves or something), but the gesture clearly happens before the horse rears, not after. See more »

User Reviews

A family Western in which Joel McCrea joins a beautiful rancher in her quest to capture a wild black stallion
7 May 2020 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

A mundane and simple Western with gorgeous outdoors and paying tribute to Joel McCrea . The story of a wild black stallion and various people attempting to capture the excellent horse . As two cowboys and a wonderful woman set out to capture him . Concerning a veteran cowboy "Rock" Rockwell : the always laconic and top-notch Joel McCrea, aided of his adopted-son , the 20-year-old Til , Race Gentry, who help hot-headed neighboring ranch girl , the fiery Mari Blanchard . Dealing with their relationships and the hunt for a valuable horse and ending up in a triangular romance . Along the way they confront a pair of gunfighters bringing some conflict to the proceedings and causing wreak havoc.

Enjoyable , agreeable minor Western with only a couple of shots , emotion , thrills and no blood-letting . Nice film regarding a family story with Joel McCrea as a world-wise drifter and wannabe rancher comes out of drifting and teams up with a rancher , and then both of whom attemping to tame a brave mustang. Here is shown Wilderness with a magnificent stallion that runs and runs along the gleaming landscapes . Plenty of splendor and animal fury , but not so much Western , this is a kind of alfresco attractive tale , a refreshingly different movie . Here appears a lot of wildlife , as Universal later reused footage of the horse Highland Dale in Black Horse Canyon 1954 , Cattle Drive 1951 and Fury series . A few years before Sam Peckinpah's Ride in High Sierra, aging Joel McCrea stars one of his later roles , as he came out of a partial retirement to play a likeable and upright starring as a two-fisted West hero . Pleasant to watch the old cowboy up and about , here he is a man wise to the nature of women and horses , attempting to establish a homestead. MacCrea was a B-actor , though ocassionally he played A films as Sullivan's travels and The Dangerous game . Joel perfomed a lot of Westerns, as his interpretations are ideally suited for the take-it-easy and laid-back nature attitude , such as : Union Pacific , Buffalo Bill, The Virginian , Ramrod , South of Saint Luis , Four Faces West , The Oklahoman . MacCrea is well accompanied by a sympathetic and young pal , Race Gentry . And of course , the laughing and likeable Mari Blanchard who was never better . And other secondaries as Irving Bacon , John Pickard ; furthermore , Murvyn Vye and Bill Williams scowl effectively the nasty gunslingers .

It contains colorful and briliant cinematography by George Robinson. Showing spectacular and breathtaking landscapes shot on location in Bloomquist Ranch, Douglas, Guadalupe Canyon,Pirtleville, McNeal, Leslie Canyon National Wildlife Refuge, Baker Canyon,Arizona . As well as evocative amd moving musical score by Universal's regular : William Lava , Henry Mancini , Hans J. Salter , Frank Skinner , Herman Stein , though all of them uncredited . This B-title motion picture was well produced by Universal Pictures and professionally directed by Jesse Hibbs who carries out a more of a character study of three people than it is a routine western and some pedestrian scenes . It was a limited box-office for Universal Pictures , but nowadays , being considered a very decent movie . Hibbs was an American director of second features , primarily westerns , at Universal in the 1950's . Being especially known for TV series as ¨Perry Mason¨ (1957) , ¨Gunsmoke¨ , ¨Laramie¨ and ¨F.B.I.¨ (1965) as well as Westerns and Thrillers . He directed various Audie Murphy vehicles such as : this ¨To hell and Back¨ (1955) , ¨World in My Corner¨ (1956) , ¨Ride a Crooked Trail¨ (1958) and ¨Medal of Honor¨ . Rating 7/10. Entertaining adventure western in familar style that will appeal both, children and adults.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 6 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.






Release Date:

June 1954 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Echo Canyon See more »

Filming Locations:

Guadalupe Canyon, Arizona, USA 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 »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed