Stranger on Horseback (1955)

Stranger on Horseback
Miroslava and Joel McCrea

'Stranger on Horseback' is an exceptionally good Western made in 1955, directed by Jacques Tourneur and with a high quality cast including Joel McCrea, John Carradine, John McIntire, and Miroslava. The story is fast-paced, unpredictable and the movie is thoroughly entertaining, an excellent example of the Western genre.


Joel McCrea plays circuit judge Richard Thorne, who is investigating a murder in a town which is ruled by one family - the Bannermans. Problems arise when Thorne learns that the obvious suspect in a recent murder is Tom Bannerman, played by Kevin McCarthy and that his father, Josiah, brilliantly played by John McIntire, will not allow any lawman to bring his son to trial.

The relentless Thorne, of course, rises to the challenge aided by corrupt prosecutor Colonel Buck Streeter, played to the hilt by John Carradine. Excitement and adventure ensue and there's some romance thrown in Bannerman's beautiful daughter, Amy, played by Miroslava Stern, who becomes more than a little smitten with the judge.


'Stranger on the Horseback' is one of three westerns directed by Jacques Tourneur in the mid 1950s, the other two being 'Wichita' in 1955 and 'The Great Day in the Morning' in 1956. Based on the story by specialist Louis L'Amour, the superb screenplay is by Herb Meadow and and Don Martin.

The movie was photographed in Ansco Color by Pathe , and shot mainlyin the beautifully scenic Sedona Arizona with a few scenes on Gene Autry's Melody Ranch in Placerita Canyon, Newhall, California.

Miroslava was a big star in Mexico, although she was actually Czech-born. Sadly she committed suicide only two weeks prior to this film's release.

Main Cast

Joel McCrea ... Judge Richard 'Rick' Thorne
Miroslava ... Amy Lee Bannerman
Kevin McCarthy ... Tom Bannerman
John McIntire ... Josiah Bannerman
John Carradine ... Col. Buck Streeter
Nancy Gates ... Caroline Webb
Emile Meyer ... Sheriff Nat Bell
Robert Cornthwaite ... Arnold Hammer
Jaclynne Greene ... Paula Morrison (as Jacklyn Green) Walter Baldwin ... Vince Webb
Emmett Lynn ... Barfly
Roy Roberts ... Sam Kettering
George Keymas ... Bannerman's Henchman


Director ... Jaques Tourneur
Producer ... Robert Goldstein
Screenplay ... Robert Goldstein Screenplay by Herb Meadow, Don Martin
From the story by ... Louis L'Amour
Music ... Paul Dunlap
Cinematography ... Ray Rennahan
Distribution Company ... United Artists
Release date ... March 23, 1955
Running time ... 66 minutes

Academy Awards

No Nominations