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The Burning Hills (1956)

Approved | | Romance, Western | September 1956 (USA)
When Trace Jordan's brother is murdered by members of the land-grabbing Sutton family he vows to report this injustice to the nearest Army fort.


Stuart Heisler


Irving Wallace (screenplay), Louis L'Amour (novel)




Complete credited cast:
Tab Hunter ... Trace Jordan
Natalie Wood ... Maria-Christina Colton
Skip Homeier ... Jack Sutton
Eduard Franz ... Jacob Lantz
Earl Holliman ... Mort Bayliss
Claude Akins ... Ben Hindeman
Ray Teal ... Joe Sutton
Frank Puglia ... Tio Perico
Hal Baylor ... Braun
Tyler MacDuff ... Wes Parker
Rayford Barnes ... Veach
Tony Terry Tony Terry ... Vincente Colton


Trace discovers the body of his brother Jerry and confronts Mr. Sutton, the crook responsible for his brother's death. In self-defense, Trace shoots Mr. Sutton. Sutton sends his henchmen to hunt and kill a wounded and fleeing Trace. Maria, a half-breed Mexican girl whose father was murdered by Sutton, becomes Trace's companion in flight. Written by Kelly

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Romantic adventure of the early West! See more »


Romance | Western


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


According to Tab Hunter's autobiography, studio executives were so displeased by Natalie Wood's "Mexican" accent that they even considered dubbing in another actress's voice. See more »


When Trace Jordan (Tab Hunter) investigates the mine tunnel in the story, he tells Maria (Natalie Wood) that he found an exit at the far end covered by brush. She states that she didn't know there was an exit, but later in the story as the Sutton men chase Trace and Maria through the tunnel, Maria's brother is waiting for them on the other side. See more »


Maria Christina Colton: They think they can treat me like those girls in the dance hall.
Trace Jordon: I'm sorry. I know how you must feel.
Maria Christina Colton: You can't. You are a man.
See more »


Featured in Tab Hunter Confidential (2015) See more »

User Reviews

Warners Takes Aim at a Younger Audience
22 July 2012 | by dougdoepkeSee all my reviews

Two young lovers flee a murderous rancher's posse.

In 1956, Warner Bros. paired up two of their most promising young contract players in this movie and one other, The Girl He Left Behind. Unfortunately for the studio, neither film caught fire. Hunter certainly had the All-American good looks but in the acting department was no James Dean, while Wood's struggle here with a Mexican accent amounts to little more than an honest effort.

Wisely, the studio stacked the dialog with a veteran supporting cast—Akins, Franzen, and Teal —who carry most of the lines. At the same time, was there ever a better nasty young punk than the great Skip Homeier, who could hold his own with any heavyweight actor. Also, it's too bad the young Earl Holliman didn't have matinée good looks because he could have injected real feeling into Trace's pivotal part.

The cast itself gets to ride around greater LA in a generally non-scenic Technicolor Western. However, the showpiece brawl over the big rocks and into the roaring river is a real doozy. Hunter certainly earned his salary with that one. Then too, Franzen's Indian tracker is nicely conceived and adds a good ironical touch to the fairly predictable outcome.

All in all, the movie amounts to little more than a minor vehicle for two of the studio's attractive young stars. The talented Wood, at least, would go on to bigger and better things.

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Release Date:

September 1956 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Burning Hills See more »

Filming Locations:

Keyesville,California,USA See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:

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Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)


Color (WarnerColor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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