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The Lawless Breed

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Lawless Breed
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRaoul Walsh
Screenplay byBernard Gordon
Story byWilliam Alland
Produced byWilliam Alland
Raoul Walsh
StarringRock Hudson
Julie Adams
CinematographyIrving Glassberg
Edited byFrank Gross
Music byHerman Stein (composer)
Joseph Gershenson (music supervisor)[1]
Distributed byUniversal-International
Release date
  • January 3, 1953 (1953-01-03) (United States)
Running time
83 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$1.3 million (US)[3]

The Lawless Breed is a 1953 American biographical crime Western film produced and distributed by Universal-International, directed by Raoul Walsh, starring Rock Hudson and Julie Adams.[2] The film is a romanticized story based on the life of outlaw John Wesley Hardin.

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Wild West gunslinger and gambler John Wesley Hardin (Rock Hudson) is pardoned and released from a Huntsville, Texas prison in 1896, after serving 16 years of a 25-year sentence.

He delivers a manuscript of his life, written during his incarceration, to a local printer, in the hopes of it being printed. The film's story is presented mostly as flashbacks, as the autobiography recounts Hardin's exploits outside the law.

It tells of an upbringing by his preacher father (John McIntire), and his first love Jane (Mary Castle); in his reckless youth he finds solace from his complicated home life in gambling. However, he is introduced to the outlaw life when he shoots a man (Michael Ansara) in self-defense during a card game, and is soon on the run when authorities, and the man's notorious brothers (Hugh O'Brian, Lee Van Cleef, Glenn Strange), come gunning for him. He finds aid from a saloon girlfriend Rosie (Julie Adams) and his uncle John Clements (also played by McIntire). After Jane is killed in an accident outside his father's home, brought on by the pursuit and Hardin's desire to bring her with him, he and Rosie depart together. On the run across state lines and using aliases, they eventually wed and begin a normal life, and have a son just before he is finally tracked down, captured and sent to prison.

After his release, he returns home and reunites with Rosie and his now teenage son John (Race Gentry). His life as an outlaw has influenced his son, but upon his release, Hardin makes clear to the young man that a life of crime is no way to live.


Francis Ford, the brother of director John Ford, has a small uncredited role as a saloon janitor.

Home media

Universal first released the film on DVD in 2007 as part of its Classic Western Round-Up, Volume 1 set, a 2-disc set featuring three other films (The Texas Rangers, Canyon Passage, and Kansas Raiders). The exact same set was re-released in 2011, as part of Universal's 4 Movie Marathon DVD series, being repackaged as the "Classic Western Collection". In 2015, the film re-released as a stand-alone DVD from the Universal Vault Series; the only difference in this release was that no subtitles were provided on-screen. There are also Region 2 and Region 4 DVD releases of this film.


  1. ^ "The Lawless Bread (1953)". Library of Congress. Retrieved May 26, 2022.
  2. ^ a b The Lawless Breed at the American Film Institute Catalog
  3. ^ "The Top Box Office Hits of 1953", Variety, January 13, 1954

External links

This page was last edited on 6 January 2024, at 20:34
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