Cast & Crew
Eddie Bendix and his mentor and henchman, Johnny Ryan, two gangsters in the gambling trade, return to the small desert town of Chuckawalla, Nevada, outside Reno, and stop at a bridge where Eddie's wife died in a car crash. Having run into some trouble conducting business in Las Vegas, Eddie now hopes to get involved in the local gambling racket. Johnny is determined to move on to Los Angeles, however, where he is sure Eddie will make a fortune. Chuckawalla's gambling trade is run by Fritzie Haller, who owns the Purple Sage saloon and was once an acquaintance of Eddie. On the day of Eddie's arrival, Fritzie's nineteen-year-old daughter Paula returns home, having quit yet another boarding school, and meets Eddie when he stops near the bridge. Against the admonitions of deputy sheriff Tom Hanson, an old friend of Paula who is in love with her, Paula begins a love affair with Eddie, believing he is a virile man of action. Fritzie, who has always tried to maintain strict control over Paula, offers Tom a ranch if he proposes to her daughter. Tom loyally exposes Fritzie's scheme to Paula, whose anger at her mother deepens. Fritzie then forbids Paula from seeing Eddie, but she sneaks out to his ranch for secret rendezvous. Johnny, meanwhile, grows increasingly resentful of Eddie's blind devotion to Paula and his lack of ambition. One day when Paula comes to see Eddie, Johnny threatens to kill her if she ever returns to the ranch. After Eddie learns of Johnny's threat, he races to Paula's house and asks her to elope with him. Finally, Fritzie confesses to Paula that years ago Eddie had promised to marry her, too, but deserted her. Paula refuses to believe her mother, and leaves with Eddie. On their way out of town, they pick up Johnny. While they are stopped at a roadside diner, Johnny, seething with rage because Eddie has deserted him, tells Paula that it is he who has always made the important decisions for Eddie, who is really a spineless brute. Johnny then reveals that Eddie killed his wife on Johnny's orders after she learned too much about his criminal activities and tried to leave Eddie. In a panic, Paula runs to her car just as Eddie shoots Johnny dead. Eddie then pursues Paula, and Tom joins in the car chase and saves Paula before Eddie's car goes over the bridge in the same spot where his wife had perished. Tom pulls Eddie from the burning car, but finds he is already dead. After Fritzie races to the scene and embraces her daughter, Tom and Paula agree to marry and buy a ranch.
A. I. Bezzerides
This film's working title was Desert Town. Ramona Stewart's novel was serialized in Collier's from 24 November to December 8, 1945. Desert Fury marked the screen debut of Broadway actor Wendell Corey. Paramount borrowed John Hodiak from M-G-M for the film. Par News reported the following production information: The Main Street scenes were shot in the small town of Cottonwood, AZ, which was rented by the studio. Cottonwood residents appeared as townspeople along with actors. Locations also included Palmdale, CA and Sedona, AZ. Truckloads of Arizona's red sandstone earth and gravel were transported to Los Angeles for additional shooting. Although studio press releases claimed that a helicopter was used for the first time in motion picture production when flier Ross MacKenzie shot panoramic views of the desert, helicopters had been used previously to film the 1946 Columbia picture The Bandit of Sherwood Forrest.