Sheriff John T. Chance has his hands full after arresting Joe Burdette for murder. He knows that Burdette's brother Nathan, a powerful rancher, will go to any lengths to get him out of jail. Chance's good friend Pat Wheeler offers to help but within 20 minutes of making the offer is gunned down in the street, shot in the back. That leaves his elderly deputy Stumpy, the town drunk Dude - once a deputy and a pretty good shot when he was sober - and a young hand, Colorado, who used to work for Wheeler. Nathan Burdette meanwhile has a couple of dozen men at his disposal. Chance does his best to prepare all the while romancing a pretty gambler who goes by the name of Feathers.
...and the girl they all call 'Feathers'
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Did You Know?
Although Harry Carey Jr.
was listed in the credits on-screen, he does not appear in the picture. Carey had a drinking problem at the time. He called director Howard Hawks
"Howard" instead of "Mr. Hawks" on one of his first days on the set, infuriating Hawks. His contract, including his pay and his screen credit, was honored, but his part (a townsman) was cut. See more
Colorado (Ricky Nelson) tells the sheriff (John Wayne) that he and Dude are the only ones who saw the shooting. The sheriff says they are only ones who are willing to testify. The sheriff was knocked out cold by Dude hitting him on the head before the shooting in the saloon. The sheriff is lying on the ground, not moving at all. Furthermore, he's lying on his stomach, on the floor and his back is facing the shooting done by Joe. He would be unable to see any of the events after he was hit over the head by Dude. Therefore, he could not testify in court about any aspect of the shooting. Even if he was awake and listening, but not moving, he would have heard very little because no one speaks in the saloon before, during, or after the shooting. See more
John T. Chance
Joe, you're under arrest.
Music by Dimitri Tiomkin
Lyrics by Paul Francis Webster
Sung by Dean Martin
(uncredited) See more