AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Rider from Tucson
Alternate Title: Gun Thunder
Director: Lesley Selander (Dir)
Release Date:   7 Jun 1950
Production Date:   mid-Oct--late Oct 1949
Duration (in mins):   60
Duration (in feet):   5,435
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Cast:   Tim Holt (Dave Saunders)  
    Elaine Riley (Jane Whipple)  
    Douglas Fowley (Bert Rankin)  
    Veda Ann Borg (Gypsy Avery)  
    Robert Shayne (John Avery)  
    William Phipps (Tug Bailey)  
    Harry Tyler (Hardrock Jones)  
    Luther Crockett (Sheriff)  
    Dorothy Vaughan (Mrs. Bridget O'Reilly)  
    Stuart Randall (Slim)  
    Marshall Reed (Jackson)  
    Richard Martin (Chito Rafferty)  
    Post Park (Stage driver)  
    Frosty Royce (Larson)  
    Joe Smith (Brown)  

Summary: While performing in a Tucson rodeo, riders Dave Saunders and Chito Rafferty receive a telegram from their old friend Tug Bailey, informing them of his recent gold strike and impending marriage. Tug has invited Dave and Chito to be best men at his wedding, so the two cowboys set out for Tug's home in Oro Grande, Colorado. Immediately upon arriving there, Dave and Chito see outlaw Bert Rankin and his gang harassing Hardrock Jones, an old prospector, and bravely intercede on Hardrock's behalf. Dave and Chito then ask for Tug at Mrs. Bridget O'Reilly's boardinghouse and learn that ever since he struck gold, Tug has been hiding from claim jumpers at the ranch he bought for his fiancĂ©e, Jane Whipple. At Tug's ranch, Dave and Chito reunite with their frightened and exhausted friend, who announces that he is calling off the wedding in order to protect Jane. At that moment, a gun-wielding man appears at Tug's door, but is chased off by Dave and Chito. The man, Jackson, then reports to crooked surveyor John Avery, who has hired him to scare Tug into revealing the location of his unregistered mine. Hearing of Jackson's failure, Avery's greedy wife Gypsy, the local saloon owner, demands to take over the operation. For one hundred dollars, Gypsy hires Rankin to kidnap Jane, who she claims is a new saloon girl arriving from the East, as a joke. Following Gypsy's instructions, Rankin and his men ambush Jane's stagecoach and take her to a hideout in the hills. As soon as Tug learns about Jane's kidnapping, he prepares to relinquish his mine to the outlaws until Dave and Chito convince him to give them a day to find Jane. From the site of the kidnapping, the two cowboys follow the outlaws' tracks to Gypsy's hideout. Rankin, meanwhile, confronts Gypsy about Jane, whose identity he now knows, and demands one half of Tug's gold mine interests. Gypsy refuses to give in to Rankin's threats, however, and with her husband and Jackson in tow, heads for Tug's ranch. Dave and Chito, meanwhile, trick Rankin's gang into believing Gypsy's hideout is surrounded by men and free Jane. While the cowboys drop Jane at Mrs. O'Reilly's, Rankin confronts Tug, who is unaware of Jane's rescue, and insists that he pay him a half interest for her release. As Tug is signing over his mine, however, Gypsy rides up and shoots Rankin. Gypsy takes Tug at gunpoint and orders Jackson to dispose of Rankin's body. After Jackson shoves Rankin's body into a closet, he flees from Dave and Chito, who are then caught with the outlaw's body by the local sheriff. While the sheriff is leading them to jail, Dave and Chito manage to escape and ride to town to talk with Jane. Outside Avery's office, the cowboys spot Jackson's horse and, after beating him senseless, take him to Mrs. O'Reilly's, where Jane reveals the directions to Tug's mine. Unfamiliar with the area, Dave and Chito ride off to find Hardrock, while Gypsy and Avery try to beat the mine's location out of Tug. Frustrated, Gypsy bluffs Tug by promising to free Jane once he leads them to the mine. Tug almost falls for Gypsy's trick, but just before reaching the mine, he demands Jane's immediate return and instigates a gunfight. Dave, Chito and Hardrock, meanwhile, are riding toward the mine when they hear gunshots. The three race to Tug's rescue, and after Dave knocks out Avery, the sheriff and his posse, who have been alerted by Mrs. O'Reilly, arrive to arrest the gang. Later, Dave and Chito bid the newly married Jane and Tug goodbye and leave for their next adventure. 

Production Company: RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.  
Distribution Company: RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.  
Director: Lesley Selander (Dir)
  John E. Pommer (Asst dir)
Producer: Herman Schlom (Prod)
Writer: Ed Earl Repp (Wrt)
Photography: Nicholas Musuraca (Dir of photog)
  Charles Burke (Cam op)
  Charles Beckett (Gaffer)
  Ollie Sigurdson (Stills)
Art Direction: Albert S. D'Agostino (Art dir)
  Walter E. Keller (Art dir)
Film Editor: Robert Swink (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Darrell Silvera (Set dec)
  Jack Mills (Set dec)
Music: C. Bakaleinikoff (Mus dir)
  Paul Sawtell (Mus)
Sound: John Cass (Sd)
  Clem Portman (Sd)
Make Up: Mel Berns (Makeup)
  Larry Germain (Hairstylist)
Production Misc: Tom Clement (Grip)
Country: United States

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc. 9/6/1950 dd/mm/yyyy LP214

Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: RCA Sound System

 
Genre: Western
 
Subjects (Major): Claim jumpers
  Cowboys
  Engagements
  Friendship
  Gold mines
  Outlaws
 
Subjects (Minor): Boardinghouse mistresses
  Colorado
  Fistfights
  Gunfights
  Hideouts
  Kidnapping
  Prospectors
  Ranches
  Rodeos
  Saloon keepers
  Sheriffs
  Stagecoach robberies
  Tucson (AZ)
  Women outlaws

Note: The working title of this film was Gun Thunder . The character played by William Phipps is incorrectly listed as "Tug Caldwell" in Var and CBCS. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   17 Jun 1950.   
Daily Variety   8 Jun 50   p. 3.
Film Daily   8 Jun 50   p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter   14 Oct 49   p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter   21 Oct 49   p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter   8 Jun 50   p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   17 Jun 50   p. 347.
Variety   14 Jun 50   p. 22.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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