The Lawless Breed

Synopsis: Released from jail, John Wesley Hardin leaves an account of his life with the local newspaper. It tells of his overly religious father, his resulting life of cards and guns, and his love for his step-sister replaced on her death during a gun fight with that for dance-hall girl Rosie.
Genre: Western
Director(s): Raoul Walsh
Production: Universal International Pictur
83 min

They don't look near so high

from the outside.

For a time, we were afraid they

weren't high enough to hold you in.

If you're taking a train,

there's one leaving

Huntsville this afternoon.

Thanks, Chuck.

Good luck, Wes.

Good luck.



What can I do for you?

I'm Wes Hardin.

John Wesley Hardin?

That's right.

I have a story here.

Wrote it myself.

It's about me.

I think it might

interest people.

Well, I'd like to read your story, but...

There's no hurry.

I'm leaving town

on the afternoon train.

If you decide to make a book of it,

I'd be much obliged.

Where can I reach you?

You'll find it in there

on the last page.

I have been tried for murder

and condemned in a court of law.

I have been tried

by public opinion

and my name connected with

every major crime in Texas

over a period of years.

In the interest

of truth and justice,

I have set down the

unvarnished facts of my life.

My own story in my own words.

Let people judge for themselves.

I was born into a fine family

in Fannin County, Texas,

on the 26th day of May, 1853.

With the outbreak of the

War Between the States,

my childhood came to an end

at the age of seven.

My father raised a company

to fight for Texas.

My brother, Dave,

was killed in Georgia,

my brother, Joe,

was crippled in Mississippi.

The war ended, but peace

didn't come to Texas.

We were a proud people

ruled by a foreign army.

The Army of the United States.

My father, J. G. Hardin,

was a preacher

and a circuit rider.

He was a strong,

God-fearing man,

who carried his Bible

like a six-gun

and fought with the devil

wherever he found him.

Where did you get it, Son?

I bought it.

With gambling money!

Don't back up, Son.

Not when a man's coming at you.

I don't back up from any man

unless he was my pa.

What would you do?

Shoot him with that pistol?

You've grown strong

in the House of the Lord,

yet your strength is

the strength of the devil!

I place your feet

on a path of righteousness,

yet you seek out

the ways of sin.

With the help of the Lord,

I may yet conquer the evil in you.

Pray for forgiveness, for mercy.

For understanding.

I'll pray for you.

WES. Jane Brown was an orphan.

Her family had been lost

in the war

and she had come

to live with us.

We'd grown up together.

Jane was about

the prettiest girl in Texas.


Wesley, he beat you again.

Sometimes, it seems like he enjoys it,

whipping and praying.

Seems like the time has to come when

a man doesn't take another whipping,

even from his own Pa.

Even from the preachingest Pa

in Texas!

I tell you, Jane,

I'm going away.

I'm gonna get me some money

so we can get our own land.

A place with green grass,

real grass for horses,

and water that runs... runs all

year round and a white painted house.

Yes, I know.

You don't believe me.

Wes, if you'd only

be patient for a while.

Study your law books...

Law books!

There's no more law in Texas.

Only Yankee law!

It won't always be that way.

I'm tired of waiting.

There's a million head of cattle in Texas,

maybe more.

Mavericks running wild

on the range,

belonging to nobody

because of the war.

A man just has to

round up a few cattle

and brand them and drive

them to the railroad.

But there are thousands of men,

older men with money and horses,

that are working these mavericks.

All I need is $200 or $300 for

an outfit and a good cow pony.

I can raise it.

I got a plan, Jane.

I'm going.

Will you come back for me, Wes?

I love you, Jane, I love you.


Pa's wanting his dinner.

Wes, I'm sorry he whipped you.

I could hear it in the house.

Your brother's going away, Joe.

It might be best that he does.

I guess it's the only thing you can do,


Pa just don't understand you.

Jane! Joe!

Come in the house.

You better go now.

Good luck, Wes.

You didn't answer

my question, Wes.

I'll be back for you, Jane.

I'll be waiting.


Goodbye, Wes.



Who is it?

Wes Hardin.

Hello, Preacher's Boy.

Evening, Rosie.

Anyone see you come into town?


Sure no Yankee soldiers saw you?

They couldn't see a white barn

if it was in front of them.

Well, if they knew

we were open after dark,

they'd throw a lock on the door.

Hello, Preacher's Boy.

Hi, Gus.

Out after dark

in a place like this?

If the Yankees don't get you,

the devil will.

I reckon I can take good care

of the Yankees, Gus,

but the devil will be

busy with you.

Marv, I'm back again.


How much for the law books?

Same as last time.

I don't want a loan,

I want to sell them.

How about $10?

That's a lot of law for $10.

The books are worth 50.


Give him $30.

Give you $20.

Make it $25, you piker.

You stay on your own side

of the fence.

I'll give you $20.


Make yourself a lawyer.

Now that you're

in the law business, Marv,

maybe you can start collecting some

of these bad debts around here.

I sure will, as soon

as I read up on it.

And what are you gonna do, Wes?

Gonna get me a farm,

buy me some stock,

breed the best horses in Texas.

And you figure you can

get it faster this way

if you're lucky.

Maybe I'm lucky.

Who knows?

Sit in.

What are you looking for?

How to collect I.O.U.'s

with interest.

You know what interest means?

Yes and no. It's...

There are a lot of different

kinds of interest, Marv. Yeah?

Yeah, you take me for instance.

Yeah, I got an interest.

I got an interest in somebody that's got

an interest in somebody else, I think.


Now that you're a lawyer,

how would you figure that one out?

Well, I...

Don't forget the kitty, boys.

I'll take one.

I'll buy two and check.

It'll cost you 50 to play.

I got three kings.

They're no good.

I got a flush.

You gave me four clubs going in

and you just gave me this one.

Where'd you get that card?

You gave it to me.

I gave you a heart!

Why, you...

Wes. Look out.

Drop it, Marv!

Put your hands up.

You all saw it.

He drew first.

Get out quick, Wes.

He's got three brothers.

They won't ask who drew first.

Put my money in my hat, Rosie.

Keep your hands up!

Put it in my saddlebag.

First man out this door

gets shot!

Stay put till you hear me ride!

Wes, look out!

Take care of yourself, Rosie.

Take care of yourself,

Preacher's Boy.

- There he goes, down the road.

- After him!

He's getting away!

All right, line up!

Come on, move.

Line up against the bar.

All of you.

I tell you it was murder.

Murder in the first degree.

Habeas corpus.

That means he's real dead.

What's the name of the man

who shot him?

Name? Oh, my name is Marv.

Everybody calls me Marv.

I've been tending bar here for...

Not your name.

The name of the man

who did the shooting.

Hey, mister...

I mean, Lieutenant.

I don't think he saw it.

He couldn't see that far.

You seem to see plenty

around here. You see it?

No, no, but he did.

Did you see the shooting?

I see nothing.

Ain't seen my wife in a week.

What time is it?

Everybody's gone blind and dumb

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Bernard Gordon

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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