Tall in the Saddle (1944)

Tall In The Saddle (1944)Tall in the Saddle is a John Wayne western movie released in 1944. The film follows the story of a cowboy who arrives in town to find that his contact, a rancher, has been murdered. The cowboy must then solve the murder while dealing with the angry people of the town.

The movie ran with a couple of taglines upon its initial release, including "The Saturday Evening Post story comes to life!" and "Breath-taking adventure!" The film was reissued in 1953 with the tagline "Wayne packs a wallop… in action… in love!"

Cast and Crew of Tall in the Saddle

John Wayne stars as Rocklin, the cowboy who arrives in town. Ella Raines costars as Rocklin’s love interest, Arleta "Arly" Harolday. The supporting cast includes Judge Robert Garvey played by Ward Bond, George Hayes as Dave, Audrey Long playing Clara Cardell, and Elisabeth Risdonas as Elizabeth Martin. Dan Douglas, Paul Fix, Russell Wade, Emory Parnell, Raymond Hatton, and Harry Woods complete the cast.

Tall in the Saddle was directed by Edwin L. Marin and produced by Robert Fellows. Gordon Ray Young wrote the original story upon which Tall in the Saddle was based, and Paul Fix and Michael Hogan adapted it for the screen. Roy Webb composed the soundtrack. Robert De Grasse acted as cinematographer, and Philip Martin edited the film.

Tall in the Saddle was released with a running length of 87 minutes.

Plot Synopsis of Tall in the Saddle

Rocklin, a woman-hating cowboy, purchases a ticket for a stagecoach heading for Santa Inez. The driver, Dave, is an aging alcoholic. Rocklin is accompanied by Elizabeth Martin and her niece Clara. The group arrives at a rest stop where they encounter Bob Clews and Sheriff Jackson. Rocklin is informed that Red Cardell, the great uncle of Clara and owner of the ranch he was traveling to, was shot and killed a few weeks prior. Dave, in a drunken stupor, insults the sheriff and Clews, and is knocked out and dumped outside.

Rocklin drives the stagecoach the rest of the way himself. When he arrives in town, a local lawyer invites him o a poker a game. One of the players is Clint Harolday, stepson of the previous owner of the ranch. Clint bets against Rocklin with a card that had been flipped face-up, and Rocklin correctly informs him that the card is dead and out of play. Clint is angry and turns his gun on Rocklin, and Rocklin coolly walks up to his room, fetches his gun, and demands his money from Clint. Clint’s sister Arly confronts Rocklin, demands the money back, and shoots at Rocklin. Rocklin simply walks away.

Elizabeth Martin and Clara show up at the office of Garvey, Cardell’s attorney, to claim the ranch for Clara. They are displeased to find that Cardell has hired Rocklin as the K.C. ranch foreman, just as Arly arrives at the office to tell Rocklin that her stepfather would like to hire him at the Topaz Ranch. Arly has become attracted to Rocklin, and is the actual person behind the hiring. Rocklin’s new employer sends him to a line camp to search for the gang that killed Red Cardell.

Rocklin leaves the town, and Clara ask’s Arly’s friend to bring a letter to Rocklin. Dave delivers the letter, which contains Clara talking about how she’s suspicious that Garvey is attempting to buy the ranch from her Aunt and leave town. Dave informs Rocklin that Cardell found a marked deck of cards in Garvey’s pocket, and was heading to the judge to report the incident as he was shot in the back. A bullet soars through the window and missed Rocklin and Dave. The two head outside to find the shooter, and return to see Arly looking for the letter from Clara.

Arly is in a jealous rage, and tells Rocklin to leave the ranch before throwing a knife at him. He gives her a kiss and leaves. Later, Arly makes Clara jealous by informing her of the kiss from Rocklin. Rocklin promises to bring Clara to Garden City the following day and conduct an investigation of Garvey. Rocklin interrogates Clint regarding Garvey, a fight breaks out, and Garvey shoots Clint. Garvey places the blames on Rocklin, but Rocklin jumps from the window to escape. Garvey assembles a posse to follow Rocklin, and a game of cat and mouse ensues.

Additional Facts about Tall in the Saddle

Tall in the Saddle was the first film starring John Wayne to appear on network television in America. The film was released in black and white on October 17, 1944 by RKO Radio Pictures.

Tall in the Saddle is available on DVD with English, Spanish, and French subtitles, as well as an English mono soundtrack. The DVD includes the original theatrical trailers that were ran for the film.