One Foot in Hell (film)

One Foot in Hell is a 1960 Western DeLuxe Color and CinemaScope film starring Alan Ladd, Don Murray and Dan O'Herlihy, directed by James B. Clark and co-written by Sydney Boehm and Aaron Spelling from a story by Spelling.

One Foot in Hell
Directed byJames B. Clark
Produced bySydney Boehm
Written byAaron Spelling
Sydney Boehm
StarringAlan Ladd
Don Murray
Dan O'Herlihy
Music byDominic Frontiere
CinematographyWilliam C. Mellor
Edited byEda Warren
Distributed byTwentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Release date
  • September 11, 1960 (1960-09-11)
Running time
89 min.
CountryUnited States


Mitch Barrett (Alan Ladd) is a former Confederate soldier emigrating to the West whose wife Ellie (Rachel Stephens) dies in childbirth in a small cattle town in Arizona because of what Mitch sees as the heartlessness of three local men - George Caldwell the hotel keeper (Henry Norell), Sam Giller the general store owner (John Alexander) and Ole Olsen the sheriff (Karl Swenson). Unhinged by Ellie's death, he plots to get his revenge by robbing the local bank of $100,000 deposited by a rich cattleman, thus ruining the town.

He accepts the job of deputy sheriff, then murders the sheriff so that he can take his place. To help him carry out the elaborately-planned robbery, he recruits four people: Dan Keats (Don Murray), an alcoholic ex-Confederate soldier who scrapes a living drawing portraits of the customers in saloons; Sir Harry Ivers 'of the Lancaster Ivers' (Dan O'Herlihy), an upper-class-sounding English pickpocket; Julie Reynolds (Dolores Michaels), a prostitute who hopes for enough money to go East and make a respectable life for herself; and Stu Christian (Barry Coe), a ruthless gunman. During the robbery, on Mitch's instructions, Ivers and Christian kill the store owner and the hotel keeper.

Afterwards, Mitch sets out to eliminate the other members of the gang in order to conceal his own part in the plot. He succeeds in killing Ivers and Christian but when he corners Dan and Julie, who have fallen in love, Julie manages to kill him. Dan and Julie then return the money, prepared to stand trial and spend some years in jail with the prospect of long-term happiness awaiting them after their release.



The film was known as Gunslinger[2] or The Gunslingers.[3]

The budget was over $1 million and Ladd got 10% of the profits.[4]

Filming was interrupted when the Screen Actors Guild went on strike during the shoot on March 7.[5] Filming resumed on 11 April.[6][7] Alan Ladd injured his hand while working at his ranch during the layoff but was well enough to resume filming.[8]

Dolores Michaels said that "Playing westerns aren't included among the things I'll settle for on screen, although the part of Julie in this picture is better than most. She's a bad girl who goes good and has a highly dramatic moment with a gun at the end. But a woman never wins in a Western and there's just so much you can do with this period piece."[9]

See also


  1. Solomon, Aubrey. Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History (The Scarecrow Filmmakers Series). Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1989. ISBN 978-0-8108-4244-1. p252
  2. Hopper, Hedda (11 Feb 1960). "Widmark to Act in Great Britain: Peggy Lee to Return lo Drama; Marilyn Forced to Cool Heels". Los Angeles Times. p. B10.
  3. Hopper, H. (1960, Jan 09). Looking at hollywood. Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963) Retrieved from
  4. Title Changes Bewildering Tinee, Mae. Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963) [Chicago, Ill] 20 Mar 1960: g5.
  5. FILM WORK GRINDS TOWARD A HALT: Industry Gloomy as Actors Ready Walkout Tomorrow -- No Contract Talks Set By MURRAY SCHUMACH Special to The New York Times.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 06 Mar 1960: 79
  6. Hollywood Prepares to Resume Production: Scattered Film Companies Must Be Brought Together; Some Studios Ready Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 09 Apr 1960: 2.
  7. Fox Will Resume Work on Four Films Today Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 11 Apr 1960: B1
  8. Fox Will Resume Work on Four Films Today Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 11 Apr 1960: B1.
  9. Slimmer Figure Gets Fatter Roles Michaels, Dolores; Hopper, Hedda. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 12 June 1960: F3.
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