AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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The Bandit Trail
Alternate Title: The Outlaw Trail
Director: Edward Killy (Dir)
Release Date:   10 Oct 1941
Production Date:   9 May--mid-May 1941
Duration (in mins):   59-61
Duration (in feet):   5,405
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Cast:   Tim Holt (Steve Haggerty)  
    Ray Whitley (Smokey)  
    Janet Waldo (Ellen Grant)  
    Lee "Lasses" White (Whopper)  
    Morris Ankrum (Red Haggerty)  
    Roy Barcroft (Joel Nesbitt)  
    J. Merrill Holmes (Sheriff Saunders)  
    Eddie Waller (Tom Haggerty)  
    Glenn Strange (Idaho)  
    Frank Ellis (Al)  
    Joseph Eggenton (Andrew Grant)  
    Guy Usher (Mayor Blake)  
    Jack Clifford (Kurt Halliday)  
    Bud Osborne (Tiny)  
    Carl Stockdale (Clemens)  
    Curley Wright (Storekeeper)  
    Terry Frost (Hank)  
    Art Dupuis (Phil)  
    Bob Burns (Marshal)  
    James Farley (Davis)  
    Al Ferguson (Stage driver)  
    Bert LeBaron (Cowboy)  
    Bud Geary (Cowboy)  
    Heenan Elliott (Miner)  
    John Merton (Miner)  
    Mike Pat Donovan    

Summary: When Sheriff Saunders of Cedar Fork comes to foreclose the mortgage on the Lazy H ranch, quick-tempered rancher Red Haggerty defends his land at gunpoint. Hearing the gunshots, Red's brother Tom rides into the mêlée to stop the firing, but is hit by a stray bullet and killed. The next day, Tom's son Steve returns home after an unsuccessful attempt at securing a loan. Red tells Steve that his father has been murdered by the sheriff's posse and proposes they retaliate by robbing the banker in charge of the foreclosure. Intimidated by his uncle, Steve consents and joins ranch hands Smokey and Whopper in a raid on the town bank. After escaping with the money, the four meet Idaho, a prison acquaintance of Red's, who suggests they rob the bank in the town of Remington. The gang sends Steve to assay the bank and, while posing as a potential investor, he meets banker Andrew Grant and his daughter Ellen, who invite him to a party at their house that night. At the party, Steve learns that the mine payroll has just been deposited in the bank and passes the information along to Red and Idaho. Before Steve and his friends can rob the bank, however, another gang of outlaws rides off with the payroll, and Steve and the boys follow them in hot pursuit. Just as they corner the outlaws in an old shack, the town marshal and his posse arrive, and Red, Idaho and Smokey ride for their hideout. Steve and Whopper join forces with the law, and in a blazing shootout with the robbers, Steve is wounded and the marshal killed. After Steve recuperates, the mayor appoints him marshal and Whopper his deputy. Joel Nesbitt, the crooked owner of the Golden Horseshoe Saloon, tries to bribe the new marshal, but when Steve insists upon arresting two of Nesbitt's men for murder, Whopper realizes that his friend has returned to the side of the law. Deciding that he must return the stolen money, Steve puts Whopper in charge while he is in Cedar Fork. As Steve is riding out of town, Red confronts him about the money, and Nesbitt, witnessing the altercation, offers Red a job. In Cedar Fork, Sheriff Saunders accepts the money and assures Steve that he will receive a lenient sentence. Promising to return after he restores law and order to Remington, Steve rides back to town, where he learns that Whopper has been shot by one of Nesbitt's men. As Nesbitt's gang lie in wait to ambush Steve, Red warns his nephew, and the two Haggerty men march to face Nesbitt, guns blazing. In the ensuing shootout, Red is mortally wounded, but before dying, kills Nesbitt. With the threat of Nesbitt eliminated, Steve, Whopper and Smokey ride to Cedar Fork to stand trial, and before leaving, Steve promises Ellen that he will return. 

Production Company: RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.  
Distribution Company: RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.  
Director: Edward Killy (Dir)
  James Casey (Asst dir)
Producer: Bert Gilroy (Prod)
Writer: Norton S. Parker (Scr)
  Arthur T. Horman (Story)
Photography: Harry Wild (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: Van Nest Polglase (Art dir)
  Walter E. Keller (Art dir assoc)
Film Editor: Frederic Knudtson (Ed)
Music: Paul Sawtell (Mus dir)
Sound: John C. Grubb (Rec)
Production Misc: Nan Blake (Unit pub)
Country: United States

Songs: "On the Outlaw Trail," words and music by Fred Rose and Ray Whitley.
Composer: Fred Rose
  Ray Whitley

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number Passed By NBR:
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc. 6/10/1941 dd/mm/yyyy LP10744 Yes

PCA NO: 7372
Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: RCA Sound System

 
Genre: Western
 
Subjects (Major): Bank robberies
  Law and order
  Moral reformation
  Revenge
 
Subjects (Minor): Ambushes
  Bankers
  Brothers
  Ex-convicts
  Fathers and daughters
  Gambling houses
  Gunfights
  Marshals
  Mortgages
  Posses
  Outlaws
  Parties
  Ranchers
  Sheriffs
  Uncles

Note: The working title of this film was The Outlaw Trail . According to a news item in HR , Broadway character actress Helen Holmes was to appear, but her appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. Modern sources add Lew Meehan to the cast. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Daily Variety   4 Sep 1941.   
Film Daily   5 Sep 41   p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter   9 May 41   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   16 May 41   p. 4, 7
Hollywood Reporter   4 Sep 41   p. 7.
Motion Picture Herald   6 Sep 1941.   
Variety   10 Sep 41   p. 18.

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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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