Duel in the Sun

Synopsis: When her father is hanged for shooting his wife and her lover, half-breed Pearl Chavez goes to live with distant relatives in Texas. Welcomed by Laura Belle and her elder lawyer son Jesse, she meets with hostility from the ranch-owner himself, wheelchair-bound Senator Jackson McCanles, and with lustful interest from womanising, unruly younger son Lewt. Almost at once, already existing family tensions are exacerbated by her presence and the way she is physically drawn to Lewt.
Production: Selznick Releasing
  Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 win & 1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
129 min

Deep among the lonely

sun-baked hills of Texas...

the great and weather-beaten

stone still stands.

The Comanches called it

Squaw's Head Rock.

Time cannot change

its impassive face...

nor dim the legend

of the wild young lovers...

who found heaven and hell

in the shadows of the rock.

For when the sun is low...

and the cold wind blows

across the desert...

there are those

of Indian blood...

who still speak

of Pearl Chavez...

the half-breed girl

from down along the border...

and of the laughing outlaw...

with whom she here kept

a final rendezvous...

never to be seen again.

And this is

what the legend says...

A flower known nowhere else...

grows from out

of the desperate crags...

where Pearl vanished...

Pearl, who was herself

a wild flower...

sprung from the hard clay,

quick to blossom...

and early to die.


Where's your ma?

She's in there, dancing.

Like mother, like daughter.

I'm commencing to think

I like the daughter better.

Let go!

You go away from me,

or I'll call my pa.

That renegade creole squaw-man?

That's a rich one.

I'll just raise you

fifty, Mr. Chavez.

Would you mind?

Mind what?

That weed.

I find it rather repulsive.

Pretty fancy gentleman,

ain't you, Mr. Chavez?

He's not so fancy

about his wife, if you ask me.

Look at her.

Quitting? Broke again?

Yes, gentlemen...

but there are

greater tragedies...

that I'm sure

you wouldn't understand.


Pa, will you take me

in the Presidio?

I ain't never

been in there and...

And you never should be.

What are you doing out here

at this hour anyway?

I was just dancing.

I've told your mother


this street is no place

for a girl your age.

I didn't mean no harm.

It's my fault, child, not yours.

The sins of the fathers.

Go home now, dear.

I'll be back in a little while.

Don't! Stop!

No, Chavez! Don't!

Don't! Don't! I beg you! Don't!


I plead no mitigating


They deserved to die,

as I deserve to die.

For I long since

killed a person...

much superior

to either of them... myself.

I killed that person the day

I gave my family's name...

to the woman

who became my wife.

And since I believe...

the punishment

should fit the crime...

I suggest that you hang me

by the neck until I am dead.

It's from Laura Belle.

Did I ever tell you about her?

She's my second cousin.

Yes, Laura Belle

is my second cousin...

but she was

more than that to me.

You see, once upon a time,

in a different age...

in a different age

and such a different world...

I was in love.

And wonderful to believe,

the lady was in love with me.

You mustn't look at me

as though that were impossible.

I was quite the looker

in my day and very dashing.

Perhaps a bit too dashing.

And that's why

this very wonderful girl...

who might have been your mother,

decided on security...

and gave herself in wedlock

to a wealthy yankee.

Better make it fast, Chavez.

You've only got

five minutes left.

No! No!

They can't.

They can't. I won't let them.

Better that it end.

Really it is.

Your mother and I

can't hurt you any longer.

Laura Belle wants

my little girl to go to her.

Yes, just a few more weeks...

and at last,

you'll have a home...

the mother you should have had.

No, you mustn't leave me.

You mustn't.

You've been a good child.

Through some miracle,

you're good...

and you're decent,

and you're strong.

And now you must prove

that you are strong.

You will do that for me,

won't you, darling?

No tears, no grief...

now or later.

Here. Keep this scarf.

Wear it sometimes.

Get her out of here, Chavez.

Listen to me, darling.

We've very little time.

I want you to lean

on Laura Belle...

make her your inspiration

and your guide.

And then one day,

you'll be the great lady...

I've always wanted you to be.

Promise me that.

I promise.

Cross your heart?

Cross my heart.

She'll love you.

I know she will.

And you must give her

all the love you've had for me.

Smile for me.

Now, now. Head high.


Very strong.

All threats of hell

and hopes of paradise...

one thing at least

is certain...

this life flies.

One thing is certain,

and the rest is lies.

The flower that once

has bloomed forever dies.

Ready, Chavez?

Quite ready, sheriff.


I beg your pardon.

You can't be...

What's your name?

None of your business.


I really am sorry.

I wonder if I could...

I don't talk to no strangers.

That's a good rule generally,

I grant you, but...

in this case, it...

Come on.

Won't you answer

just one question?

What is it?

Did you see

a little southern tot...

on the Guadalupe coach?


Are you sure?

She was traveling alone.

You said "one question."

I know, but it doesn't

seem unreasonable if you...

Now you go away

and leave me alone.

I know all about men like you.


Good morning.

Why couldn't they have been

a little more explicit...

about just which coach

they were sending her on?

Don't worry, Jesse.

I'll drive her out to the ranch

whenever she shows up.

Thanks, Lem.

You can't miss her.

She's one of those...


southern children.

Probably be hungry

and crying her eyes out.

I'll give her some milk

and blow her nose for her.

Thanks again.

And... so long!

So long.

Give my regards to the old man.

I will.

Say hello to Laura Belle for me.


Wait! Do you know

somebody named Laura Belle?

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David O. Selznick

David O. Selznick (May 10, 1902 – June 22, 1965) was an American film producer, screenwriter and film studio executive. He is best known for producing Gone with the Wind (1939) and Rebecca (1940), both earning him an Academy Award for Best Picture. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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