The Man from Laramie (1955)

'The Man from Laramie'
James Stewart and Cathy O'Donnell

'The Man from Laramie' is a Western action movie made in 1955, directed by Anthony Mann and starring James Stewart, Arthur Kennedy, Donald Crisp, and Cathy O'Donnell. Described as a western version of King Lear, it was the fifth and final time that Stewart and Mann had made a Western together, and their eighth collaboration in all.

The movie's theme song, also called 'The Man from Laramie' was written by Lester Lee and Ned Washington and became a hit when recorded in the United States by Al Martino and in the United Kingdom by Jimmy Young.


Adroitly directed by Anthony Mann, James Stewart gives a memorable performance as a resolute and mysterious stranger, ostensibly a cowboy from Laramie, but in reality an army officer on leave. He is obsessed with finding the man responsible for the death of his younger brother, also a U.S. army officer, massacred by the Apaches who were buying guns from unknown persons.

He gets embroiled with the Waggoman family, father Alec Waggoman (Donald Crisp), and sadistic son Dave (Alex Nicol) but in the end justice is done.


The film was adapted from a story by Thomas T. Flynn, first published in 1954 as a serial in The Saturday Evening Post, and then as a novel of the same name in 1955.

Anthony Mann followed John Ford as a director of classic Westerns but he adopts a much tougher approach to the genre than Ford. Some of his characters are extremely unpleasant and their predilection to violence gives a foretaste of the work of Peckinpah and Leone.

The movie was filmed in Technicolor and Cinemascope which does justice to the vastness of the Western background scenery and provides a number of examples of Anthony Mann's trademark use of the landscape to portray or emphasise a character's emotional state.

Main Cast

James Stewart ... Will Lockhart
Arthur Kennedy ... Vic Hansbro
Donald Crisp ... Alec Waggoman
Cathy O'Donnell ... Barbara Waggoman
Alex Nicol ... Dave Waggoman
Aline MacMahon ... Kate Canady
Wallace Ford ... Charley O'Leary
Jack Elam ... Chris Boldt
James Millican ... Tom Quigby
Frank DeKova ... Padre
Eddy Waller ... Dr. Selden (uncredited)


Director ... Anthony Mann
Producer ... William Goetz
Written by ... Philip Yordan, Frank Burt
Original Story by ... Thomas T. Flynn
Music ... George Duning, Lester Lee
Cinematography ... Charles Lang
Studio ... William Goetz Productions
Distributed by ... Columbia Pictures
Release date ... August 31, 1955
Running time ... 104 min.

Academy Awards

No Nominations: