Terror in a Texas Town

Synopsis: Sven Hanson is one of a number of farmers whom Ed McNeil wants to run off their land (because he knows there's oil on it). When Hanson is murdered by McNeil's gunman, Johnny Crale, Hanson's friend Pepe Mirada hides his knowledge of the murderer's identity in order to protect his family. When Hanson's son George arrives and takes up his father's cause, not only Mirada but also Johnny Crale begin to reevaluate their attitudes.
Genre: Drama, Western
Director(s): Joseph H. Lewis
Production: United Artists
80 min

You're too far away for a fair throw, Hansen.

Come a little closer.

Just a little closer in.

You wouldn't want

to disappoint your friends.

They all came here to see blood.

Why don't you bring them in a little closer?

Close, so they can see it.

Please, Hansen.

Five steps.

Two steps.

One, Hansen.

Just one step.

Just close enough so you can get

a fair chance with that meat hook.

How about it, Hansen?

No. That fire was not any accident.

That was arson.

Are you trying to say somebody

here had a hand in it?

I don't think you'd have the guts.

I don't think you've the guts to admit

this fella McNeil had me burned down.

- Take it easy, Brady.

- Take it easy, Matt?

What are you talking about?

Didn't we agree to stick together?

Well, I stuck.

Whose house got burned down? Mine.

Whose barn went up in smoke? Mine.

Whose livestock burnt up? Mine.

No. I'm taking what I got and clearing out.

I thought we all had a clear title here.

Then this McNeil stepped in

and took over half the valley.

I don't know what we're arguing about.

I've got nothing to claim.

This is a matter

that the courts will have to decide.

I say we hold the land any way we have to.

I don't know about you...

but I have over a thousand rounds

of ammunition and I promise you this.

The first McNeil man that steps

on my land, stays there.


Just a minute, gentlemen, please.

If McNeil wants to fight us with the law,

we'll use the law, too.

If he comes at us with guns,

we'll defend ourselves.

Make no mistake about that.

But the important thing is,

are we still going to stick together?

Johnson, how about you?

I just don't know, Mr. Holmes.

I'd sure hate to go up against the law.

That is, if McNeil's title is really good.

- What do you say, John?

- I got four kids, Matt.

I have to think it over.

Mr. Hansen, what do you say?

When everybody wants to stick together,

I stick with 'em.

But when nobody don't want

to stick together...

I stick alone, by myself.

Not all by yourself. I am your friend.

I stick too, and my family.

That's quite a layout. For him?

Came packed in ice,

all the way from the Gulf.

- Not bad.

- Please.

He ain't gonna miss just one of these, is he?

Please, Mr. Baxter.

You know how Mr. McNeil is.

All right, Shorty.

- Anything for you.

- Thank you.

You just get me some whiskey, will you?

Coming right up, Mr. Baxter.

- Drink heartily.

- I will.


Yes, Mr. Baxter.

Johnny Crale come in yet?

He just got in. He's up there now.

- Thank you.

- Yes, ma'am.

An event like this calls for a toast.

Will you join us, Johnny?

Anything calls for a toast.

- Have you any particular toast in mind?

- I do.

Let's drink to Johnny...

and the success of his mission.

Very good.

You realize conditions have changed a lot

since you and I last worked together?

I can see that.

You've got drapes on the doorway

and lobster on the table.

And 75 pounds more on your belly.

And a new secretary.


Your wit is as outdated as your profession.

We've moved into a new era.

Killing on the scale you're accustomed to

isn't fashionable anymore.

As long there are men like you,

there'll be plenty of work for men like me.

Especially me.

This is not Waco, and it's not 20 years ago.

I'm in business here. I own this hotel.

Hold title to a 120 sections of land

in this area.

Some of it is occupied by squatters

who've lived here 10 or 15, even 20 years.

I'm trying to get them

to leave as peaceably as possible.

I've even paid some of them to get off.

You paid them?

You must be pretty desperate.


In this instance,

I'm quite willing to pay them.

However, some of them proved

extremely reluctant to follow my suggestion.

Time presses,

and I've run out of means of persuasion.

So you thought of old Johnny Crale.


I want all land grants

legally signed over to me within a week.

For this, we need an example.

Just one, mind you.

I've no taste for a massacre.

Just what business are we in?

My business.

You mean it will be

when you get your example.

You mean it will be

when you get your example.

You'll find the usual envelope

on the bureau in your room.

Is there a sheriff in this town?

Actually, there isn't.

But I have one.

The town likes him and I pay him.

So there'll be no trouble from there.

That takes care of everything

but the example.

What's his name?

You know I never discuss examples

when there are three people in the room.

I'll talk to you later.

You mean, you don't even trust

your own secretary?

I don't even trust you, Johnny.

You're becoming quite the dandy,

aren't you?

Wearing two guns instead of one.

And gloves.

I never saw you wear gloves before.

Tell me, do you eat in them?

Got a rash on the back of my hand.

Doctor gave me some salve

and told me to keep them covered up.

Couldn't be the rash is permanent, could it?

What are you trying to say, McNeil?


I just wondered if you'd changed

in any other ways, too.

Tell me, you still a fast draw?

Faster, if anything.

Show me.

Let me see you draw.

Draw, Johnny.

You were always a right-handed gun.

What happened?

This is the hardest fist in Texas.

This is solid steel.

Somebody blew the old one off,

and I've shot left-handed ever since.

I use the right to slug guys

who ask too many questions.

Got any objections from you?

No, none at all.

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Dalton Trumbo

James Dalton Trumbo (December 9, 1905 – September 10, 1976) was an American screenwriter and novelist who scripted many award-winning films including Roman Holiday, Exodus, Spartacus, and Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo. One of the Hollywood Ten, he refused to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in 1947 during the committee's investigation of communist influences in the motion picture industry. He, along with the other members of the Hollywood Ten and hundreds of other industry professionals, was subsequently blacklisted by that industry. His talents as one of the top screenwriters allowed him to continue working clandestinely, producing work under other authors' names or pseudonyms. His uncredited work won two Academy Awards: for Roman Holiday (1953), which was given to a front writer, and for The Brave One (1956) which was awarded to a pseudonym of Trumbo's. When he was given public screen credit for both Exodus and Spartacus in 1960, this marked the beginning of the end of the Hollywood Blacklist for Trumbo and other screenwriters. He finally was given full credit by the Writers' Guild for all his achievements, the work of which encompassed six decades of screenwriting. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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