20 user 8 critic

Face of a Fugitive (1959)

Approved | | Drama, Western | May 1959 (USA)
A robber in custody, becomes wanted for murder when his younger brother kills a deputy sheriff to help him escape.


Paul Wendkos


David T. Chantler (screenplay), Daniel B. Ullman (screenplay) | 1 more credit »


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Complete credited cast:
Fred MacMurray ... Jim Larsen aka Ray Kincaid
Lin McCarthy ... Sheriff Mark Riley
Dorothy Green ... Ellen Bailey
Alan Baxter ... Reed Williams
Myrna Fahey ... Janet Hawthorne
James Coburn ... Purdy
Francis De Sales ... Deputy Sheriff George Allison (as Francis deSales)
Gina Gillespie ... Alice Bailey
Ron Hayes ... Danny Larsen
Paul E. Burns ... Jake the Barber (as Paul Burns)


A man who was falsly accused for murder escapes the sheriffs and starts a new life in a town at the border of the States to Mexico. But he cannot settle in peace as his chasers are trying to find him. Written by Volker Boehm

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


JUST TIME ENOUGH...to changes his clothes...his girl...and his name! (original-poster) See more »


Drama | Western


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

May 1959 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Justice Ends with a Gun See more »

Filming Locations:

Sonora, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)


Color (Eastman Color)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Opening credits: The characters and incidents portrayed and the names used herein are fictitious, and any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely accidental and unintentional. See more »


In the climactic scene, when the damaged player piano runs down, its pitch slides downward, like a tape recording slowing down. Indeed, electric player pianos didn't exist until the 20th century, anyway - the early ones were all treadle-operated. See more »


[first lines]
[the train carrying the Deputy Sheriff and his prisoner, Jim Larsen, pulls into the depot at Porter]
Deputy Sheriff George Allison: We'll be in Porter for a few minutes. Want some air, Jim?
Jim Larsen: Why don't you get off without me?
Deputy Sheriff George Allison: I'd be lonely.
See more »


Sweet Betsy from Pike
Written by John A. Stone
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User Reviews

Different and Satisfying Western w/ Realistic Characters
25 April 2011 | by ksneathSee all my reviews

This is another example of a fine 50's B western -- one which in many respects outranks a number of it's "big brother" cousins.

The action begins with Larson (McMurray) escaping from a deputy transporting him to prison for a bank robbery. Larson's kid brother shows up unannounced in the midst of the action and gets fatally wounded in an exchange of gunfire with the deputy as they are escaping. They manage to stow away on a train, where we find out some of the history of these men and their motivations. Along the way the brother dies and Larson takes the alias of Kincaid while plotting how to evade the law, which is now seeking him for murder (of the deputy, which his brother shot). Kincaid ends up in a small town and in short order gets involved in various ways with the locals while needing to escape the roadblocks before the wanted poster with his picture arrives!

On the surface, this is pretty standard fare for a western. It stands apart from the typical film of its genre, however, because of the thoughtful way the characters in the story are handled. One gets a sense of realism, not so much from the clothing or set designs, etc., but from the way the characters in the story respond to circumstances and each other. The people in this story are real, genuine, believable people -- unlike the stereotypical "invincible, tough as nails" western heroes that dominated the genre in this period, or the mysterious, aloof personas found in the spaghetti westerns that followed. For example, there is a barroom fight in the film with the clichéd "one man vs. the group of bad guys". However, instead of the whole group mobbing the protagonist and beating him to a pulp, they allow the fight to be one-on-one between the two who are truly in conflict, preserving their own dignity and that of the ones actually fighting. That is not to say that they have no involvement or investment, but what part they do play is sensible and believable.

It is this interaction and sincere character development along with an engaging plot which makes this a movie that is not only a decent way to pass time, but a true pleasure to watch. Oh, and it has a fun early part by James Coburn and a thrilling climax, too. And if you watch this and enjoy it, I would also highly recommend another similarly forgotten B-western of this era: "Gun the Man Down" with James Arness. I give both this and the aforementioned title a solid 7.5. Easily recommended.

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