The Oklahoma Kid (1939)

The Oklahoma Kid
James Cagney and Rosemary Lane

'The Oklahoma Kid' is an unusual and entertaining Western starring James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart and Donald Crisp. It is interesting to see two movie legends in their earlier years and in a genre for which they are not known.


The story is a "good versus bad" basic tale but it works well, because of the strong cast and the excellent acting, particularly by Cagney and Bogart.

The action takes place in the latter years of the nineteenth century as Oklahoma is giving away free land. The title role is played by James Cagney, in his first Western (he would make three in total.) As the Kid, he seeks vengeance on the bad guy, Whip McCord, played by Bogart, when his father is falsely accused of murder and lynched. Rosemary Lane plays the romantic interest and Donald Crisp appears as her father, the judge.We see a satisfying ration of gunfights and chases before good finally triumphs and Cagney gets the girl.


The western had suffered as mainly 'B' picture fare and was making a comeback as a feature attraction in this movie and in 'Stagecoach' the same year. All the studios were starting to make them. In 1939 Warners made this one and also 'Dodge City' with Errol Flynn. Flynn registered better as a western hero than Cagney did. Cagney was privately described by Bogart as looking "like a mushroom" in his cowboy hat.

Main Cast

James Cagney … Jim Kincaid / "The Oklahoma Kid"
Humphrey Bogart … Whip McCord
Rosemary Lane … Jane Hardwick
Donald Crisp … Judge Hardwick
Harvey Stephens … Ned Kincaid
Hugh Sothern … John Kincaid
Charles Middleton … Alec Martin
Edward Pawley … Ace Doolin
Ward Bond … Wes Handley
Lew Harvey … Ed Curley
Trevor Bardette … Indian Jack Pasco
John Miljan … Ringo (the lawyer)
Arthur Aylesworth … Judge Morgan
Irving Bacon as Hotel Clerk
Joe Devlin as Keely
Wade Boteler as Sheriff Abe Collins
Stuart Holmes … President Grover Cleveland


Director … Lloyd Bacon
Producer … Samuel Bischoff, Hal B. Wallis
Screenplay … Wally Kline, Edward E. Paramore
Cinematography … James Wong Howe
Music … Max Steiner, Stephen Foster
Production Company … Warner Bros.
Distribution Company … Warner Bros. Pictures
Format … B & W
Release Date … March 3, 1939
Running Time … 85 min.

Academy Awards

No Nominations:
Not surprising in the classic year of 1939