Cast & Crew
In 1892, Larry Madden proceeds to Little River, Montana, to seek revenge on Tucker Ordway, the prosperous owner of the Warbonnet Ranch. Five years before, Tucker publicly humiliated Larry by whipping him as punishment for courting his daughter Corinna. His pride injured, Larry burned down his own ranch and left the area. Now, as he returns to Little River, Larry encounters three thugs attacking a man and comes to his aid, killing one assailant and wounding a second. After the gunmen flee, Larry learns that he has saved Rex Willard, the husband of Corinna. Later, in town, Ames Luddington, the lawyer hired by Larry to find damaging information about Tucker, reports to him that Tucker filed a land patent with an unauthorized committee and, therefore, does not legally own his ranch. Larry asks Luddington to keep the news confidential. Larry also learns that the sharpshooting, domineering Tucker has another enemy: Cibo Pearlo, the perfumed and greedy saloon owner, who ordered the attack on Rex as part of his plot to drive Tucker from his land. Although Pearlo invites Larry to join his team, which include the corrupt deputy, Jeff Barkley, and the gunslinging Peso Kid, Larry rudely refuses and Pearlo soon guesses that Larry helped Rex escape. To discredit Tucker in the eyes of the community, Barkley arrests Rex for the murder of the man killed during the ambush and prepares a mockery of an inquest with handpicked jurists. Desperate, Corinna sends her best friend Reva to ask Larry for help. After Larry reluctantly meets her, Corinna accuses him of tarnishing her reputation by courting so long without marrying. Larry explains that Tucker so intimidated him, he felt he could not propose until his own ranch was successful. Corinna then begs Larry to testify at her husband's inquest, as Rex will not endanger the man who saved his life by revealing his name. Pearlo tries to prevent Larry from testifying by sending Peso to kill him. His plan is thwarted, however, when Reva, who is out riding her horse, shoots Peso from a distance and scares him off. In town, meanwhile, Rex is charged with murder and sent by stagecoach to the county seat for trial. During the journey, Peso and Barkley kill Rex, and then tell the townspeople that Larry shot him. In a brutal fistfight, Larry coerces Barkley to publicly admit the truth, but later Barkley is found dead. When Tucker and Larry decide to settle their differences with a duel, Tucker asks that it be held in a darkened cabin. After Larry wounds the old man, Hap Sutton, Warbonnet's loyal foreman, informs Larry that Tucker has lost most of his vision and chose the dark cabin to even their chances. He explains they have kept Tucker's disability a secret from Pearlo to protect the ranch. Hap then tells Larry that Tucker beat him years ago because he thought Larry, who was secretly meeting Corinna, was carelessly ruining her reputation. In town, a federal marshal summoned by Luddington announces that Tucker's land has been opened for settlement and orders the Ordways removed from their home. As news of the land rush spreads, Luddington suggests to Larry that they claim some of the land for themselves, but Larry, having accomplished his goals, has decided to leave, although he is concerned about the partially blind Tucker. Later, Reva overhears Luddington tell Pearlo about Tucker's blindness and tries to warn Larry, but is shot by Peso. Before dying, she warns Larry that Luddington has betrayed him. Later, when the displaced Ordways ride into town to stay with a friend, Larry stops Peso from goading the proud Tucker into a shoot-out. Larry kills the thug in a fair gunfight. Larry then joins the race on the day of the land rush, aware that the Ordways suspect his motives. Pearlo's men try to knock him off his horse, but he is the first to reach the Ordway home, where Luddington waits, having hid there illegally before the race began. After Larry kills the lawyer in a shoot-out, Pearlo takes aim at Larry's back, but Corinna, who has come with her father, cries out to warn him and Larry outdraws Pearlo. Larry then explains that he is handing his stake over to them and prepares to leave, but after Tucker apologizes for his past actions and asks him to stay, Corinna and Larry agree that they can rekindle their romance.
G. W. Berntsen
Wilfrid M. Cline
Francis E. Stahl
Egbert Van Alstyne
Tall Man Riding
Scott's best and most popular westerns were made with directors Budd Boetticher, André De Toth, and Ray Enright. In Tall Man Riding (1955), he worked with Lesley Selander for the only time. Its story deals with Scott's return to the town where he was publicly humiliated by a corrupt land baron who stole his property. Scott must navigate his way though untrustworthy characters, a slick lawyer, and numerous thugs to finally make his way into the arms of his true love, the land baron's daughter, played by Dorothy Malone. The plot, twisty-turny almost to the point of absurdity, was adapted from the novel by Norman A. Fox by Joseph Hoffman, who also wrote the Ray Enright-directed war films Gung Ho! (1943) and China Sky (1945), both starring Scott.
Lesley Selander's career started as an assistant director in the silent era and lasted through the late 1960s. His first directing job was the Buck Jones western Ride 'Em Cowboy (1936), starting his track record as one of the most prolific B-movie directors, particularly in the western genre. Selander became known for effective action sequences and a professional polish that many other B directors lacked. When the market for B westerns dried up in the late 1950s, he turned to television, working in several notable series, among them the similarly titled but unrelated The Tall Man, which purported to follow the adventures of Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid.
Scott's co-star, Dorothy Malone, had been around since the early 1940s but hadn't yet reached the peak of her career, which would include a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for Written on the Wind (1956), the starring role in a show-biz biopic as John Barrymore's ill-fated daughter in Too Much, Too Soon (1958), and television stardom on the nighttime soap opera Peyton Place (1964-1968). Back here in the mid-1950s, however, she had to be content to follow this picture with a role as wealthy fiancée to Liberace in Sincerely Yours (1955).
A March 1954 Hollywood Reporter news item announced that Tall Man Riding would "possibly" be filmed in CinemaScope. There is no indication why that never came to be, except that Warners deemed it too slight for the widescreen process. In addition to scenes done in the studio at Warner Brothers and backlots at Universal, the picture was shot at three different ranches in southern California. Production took place in June and July 1954, but for some reason the picture was not released until a year later.
The year this film opened, 1955, Randolph Scott was the number one western star on the screen, according to Boxoffice magazine. The magazine also reported that the picture was doing well in key cities across the country, performing at normal or just below normal grosses in most locations, and doing above-average business in Denver. That wasn't enough, however, to put it into the 32 top hits of its exhibition period.
Producer: David Weisbart
Director: Lesley Selander
Screenplay: Joseph Hoffman (screenplay); Norman A. Fox (novel)
Cinematography: Wilfrid M.Cline
Art Direction: Stanley Fleischer
Music: Paul Sawtell
Film Editing: Irene Morra
Cast: Randolph Scott (Larry Madden), Dorothy Malone (Corinna Ordway), Peggie Castle (Reva (Pearlo's Palace Entertainer), William Ching (Rex Willard (as Bill Ching), John Baragrey (Cibo Pearlo), Robert Barrat (Tucker Ordway), John Dehner (Ames Luddington), Paul Richards (The Peso Kid), Lane Chandler (Hap Sutton), Mickey Simpson (Deputy Jeff Barclay).
by Rob Nixon
Tall Man Riding
Although several sources list the name of the character played by John Dehner as "James Luddington," he is called "Ames Luddington" in the film. A March 1954 Hollywood Reporter news item announced that the film would "possibly" be shot in CinemaScope. Portions of the film were shot on location at three ranches near Hidden Valley, CA, according to Warner Bros. production notes. A June 1954 Hollywood Reporter news item specified that one of the locations was French Ranch.
Released in United States Summer June 1955
Released in United States Summer June 1955