22 user 9 critic

Tribute to a Bad Man (1956)

Passed | | Drama, Romance, Western | April 1956 (USA)
With no law within 200 miles horse rancher Jeremy Rodak runs his spread with an iron hand and deals with rustlers even more ruthlessly.


Robert Wise


Michael Blankfort (story), Jack Schaefer (short story)


Complete credited cast:
James Cagney ... Jeremy Rodock
Don Dubbins ... Steve Miller
Stephen McNally ... McNulty
Irene Papas ... Jocasta Constantine
Vic Morrow ... Lars Peterson
James Griffith ... Barjak
Onslow Stevens ... Hearn
James Bell ... L.A. Peterson
Jeanette Nolan ... Mrs. L.A. Peterson
Chubby Johnson ... Baldy
Royal Dano ... Abe
Lee Van Cleef ... Fat Jones
Peter Chong Peter Chong ... Cooky
Learn more

More Like This 

Run for Cover (1955)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Mistaken for train robbers, Matt Dow and Davey Bishop are shot at by the sheriff and his posse but they are cleared and hired as lawmen.

Director: Nicholas Ray
Stars: James Cagney, Viveca Lindfors, John Derek
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Enviromentalist Anne Richards goes to Washington D. C. to fight for getting legislation passed to save the last remaining sanctuary of the almost-extinct California Condor. She enlists the ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Wise
Stars: Victor Mature, Patricia Neal, Edmund Gwenn
Adventure | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

In 1944, US Navy specialists run a weather station in the Gobi desert where they are harassed by Japanese warplanes but aided by local Mongol nomads.

Director: Robert Wise
Stars: Richard Widmark, Don Taylor, Max Showalter
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Marshal Tyrone and the Silver Kid form an uneasy alliance against a gang of claim jumpers.

Director: Don Siegel
Stars: Audie Murphy, Faith Domergue, Stephen McNally
Certificate: Passed Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A trail guide escorts a group of women from Chicago to California to marry men that have recently began settling there.

Director: William A. Wellman
Stars: Robert Taylor, Denise Darcel, Hope Emerson
Drama | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A charismatic peddler from the bayous finds his true calling in politics. Is he a demagogue in the making?

Director: Raoul Walsh
Stars: James Cagney, Barbara Hale, Anne Francis
Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Released from the Yuma Prison in 1898, ex-killer John McBain wants to go straight while ex-robber Peter Van Hoek seeks revenge but their destinies eventually converge in the mining town of Prescott.

Director: Delmer Daves
Stars: Alan Ladd, Ernest Borgnine, Katy Jurado
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Outraged by Redleg atrocities, the James and Younger Brothers along with Kit Dalton join Quantrill's Raiders and find themselves participating in even worse war crimes.

Director: Ray Enright
Stars: Audie Murphy, Brian Donlevy, Marguerite Chapman
Tumbleweed (1953)
Certificate: Passed Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

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.

Director: Nathan Juran
Stars: Audie Murphy, Lori Nelson, Chill Wills
So Big (1953)
Drama | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

After the death of her father and the loss of his fortune, Selina takes a job teaching school in the Dutch community of New Holland. She stays with the Pools and teaches young Roelf piano. ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Wise
Stars: Jane Wyman, Sterling Hayden, Nancy Olson
Three Secrets (1950)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Three women who secretly gave their new-born sons up for adoption in 1945, wonder if the 5-year old survivor of a plane crash, named in the local newspapers, is their long-abandoned son.

Director: Robert Wise
Stars: Eleanor Parker, Patricia Neal, Ruth Roman
Gunsmoke (1953)
Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A young gunslinger tries to help a rancher and his daughter save their land and cattle from an evil, wealthy land owner.

Director: Nathan Juran
Stars: Audie Murphy, Susan Cabot, Paul Kelly




Jeremy Rodock is a tough horse rancher who strings up rustlers soon as look at them. Fresh out of Pennsylvania, Steve Miller finds it hard to get used to Rodock's ways, although he takes an immediate shine to his Greek girl Jocasta. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Cagney in his greatest role! See more »


Drama | Romance | Western


Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Spencer Tracy was cast as Jeremy Roderick but was replaced by James Cagney, as he complained and procrastinated about working on that location because of the altitude of the Rockies. This essentially resulted in his being fired from MGM, his home studio since 1935. See more »


Steve Miller: [Upset at Mr. Rodock after witnessing Rodock's hanging of a horse thief - an impromptu "frontier justice" hanging, done without benefit of a formal trial] Maybe I ain't hard, maybe that's why. But Mr. Rodock, you didn't have to hang him.
See more »

Crazy Credits

And Introducing Irene Pappas See more »


Featured in Down on the Farm with James Cagney (1955) See more »


Rough Wrangler
Written by Stan Jones
See more »

User Reviews

Cagney's Bad...and That's Good!!
8 November 2006 | by ashewSee all my reviews

Since, by and large, this is a forgotten film, I wasn't expecting too much when I sat down to watch it. I was stunned to find a throughly enjoyable film. Fair warning: This is not a shoot-em-up Western...it is a human drama with one fist-fight, one gun battle, one hanging, and some (well-deserved) torture of the bad guys.

Evidently, I am a bad man...because I couldn't find one thing wrong with the way the Cagney character went about his business. He was strong, fair...and brutal ONLY when he had to be. Yes, that brutality would have been unforgivable if there was a sheriff or other body of law close-by, but the movie makes the point repeatedly that there is no law for 200 miles in any direction. When there is a vacuum, or void, one must fill it. What the Cagney character does is fill that void with the mandatory strength and frontier justice required for the situation. What he did does not work in today's society, but they weren't living in today's society, so one must take the philosophy in context of the times. He was not an unfair man, or brutal for the fun of it...he was brutal in order to punish the guilty who were there to steal from him...to steal his property, his livelihood, and also those who would try to steal his woman. Personally, I think if there was a bit more justice Cagney style, we wouldn't have nearly the level of crime we do today.

Even with regard to how he treats the Irene Papas character, I didn't see great fault with the man. Yes, he put off marrying her because he had issues, but virtually every scene they had together he was showing her some sort of affection, or enjoying her company...and never in a perverted "I own you" kind of way, but you could see in his face how deeply he cared for her. The drama arises from his determination to hang those who would steal his horses from him, and the Papas character's revulsion by it. Other than that, they clearly love each other.

Robert Wise does a masterful job with the directing...this is a gorgeous film. Whether it's one of the massive Cinemascope shots, or an intimate two-shot in a barn at night, everything is just beautiful.

The acting throughout is quite good, with Irene Papas absolutely phenomenal in her central role. Cagney, with only one or two over-the-top moments, is outstanding as the tough-shell-tender-center rancher who must keep an entire world together...land, men, women, and cattle. He was an actor who could do more with a guttural sound than he could with a paragraph of dialogue. He has some brilliant moments in this film. Don Dubbins is perfectly cast as the "soft" Easterner trying to make it as a horse wrangler. At first I thought I didn't like his acting, but I think it was actually the character he was playing that I didn't like...a bit too meek for my taste...but that was the character written, so he must have done a good job if I believed it enough to not like it. My only real complaint is that there's not even close to enough screen time for Chubby Johnson, Lee Van Cleef, and Royal Dano.

The weakest part of the film is probably the script, which is decent, but not great. Fortunately, they hired top named actors for leads and support, and they infused the movie with a lot that wasn't on the page.

Overall, an enjoyable Western that is well worth a viewing. 8 out of 10 from me for the great Cagney and Papas, plus the brilliance of Robert Wise's direction.

15 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 22 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »






Release Date:

April 1956 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Jeremy Rodock See more »

Filming Locations:

Montrose, Colorado, USA See more »


Box Office


$2,846,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)| 4-Track Stereo


Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Recently Viewed