Rebel in Town

Rebel in Town is a 1956 American Western film directed by Alfred L. Werker starring John Payne, Ruth Roman, J. Carrol Naish and Ben Cooper.[1] It contains stylistic elements of film noir.

Rebel in Town
Directed byAlfred L. Werker
Produced byHoward W. Koch
Aubrey Schenck
Screenplay byDanny Arnold
Story byDanny Arnold
StarringJohn Payne
Ruth Roman
J. Carrol Naish
Ben Cooper
Music byLes Baxter
CinematographyGordon Avil
Edited byJohn F. Schreyer
Schenck-Koch Productions
Bel-Air Productions
Distributed byUnited Artists
Release date
  • July 30, 1956 (1956-07-30) (United States)
Running time
78 minutes
CountryUnited States


Home from the Civil War, where he fought for the Union army, John Willoughby now lives in the western town of Kittreck Wells with wife Nora and their 7-year-old son, Petey. An appeal for help from Marshal Russell comes when a band of former Confederate soldiers are seen pulling a robbery in a neighboring town. John, who hates all rebels, agrees to go, against his wife's wishes that all his fighting must end.

Meanwhile, the Rebels, Bedloe Mason and his sons Gray, Wesley, Cain and Frank, decide to ride into Kittreck Wells to replenish their dwindling water supply. Bedloe sends Gray, Frank and Wesley into town while he and Cain await their return. Petey Willoughby, who shares his father's dislike of rebels, aims and fires a cap pistol at them. Startled by the sound, Wesley Mason shoots and kills the boy. As the brothers mount their horses and gallop out of town, Gray, not having been witnessing the shooting, hesitates, then catches up to the others.

When they reach Bedloe and Cain, Gray, angered by his brother’s recklessness, appeals to his father and brothers that Wesley has to go back to face the consequences. Wesley is dead-set against this and the others take his side. Gray rides off alone to learn the fate of the boy, but Wesley ambushes his brother by throwing a knife into his back. After strapping his brother’s unconscious body onto his horse, Wesley sets the animal loose. He then returns to camp and reports that Gray refused to listen to reason, but will meet the family at Oak Fork in three days. That night, John finds the wandering horse bearing Gray’s body and takes him home.

Wesley lies to his father that Gray will meet them in the next town. Gray's horse wanders into town, where John and Nora remove the wounded man from the saddle and take him into their home. John is still determined to learn who killed the child, and an eyewitness accuses Gray of being one of the gang. Nora has to stop her husband from attacking Gray with an axe.

The marshal places Gray under arrest until a trial can be convened. A lynch mob threatens to drag him out of the jail. Bedloe, meanwhile, realizes Wesley has been lying. He ties his son to a tree and whips him until Wesley confesses what really happened. Just as the vigilantes are about to hang Gray, the Masons ride into town. When it is evident to all that Wesley is the guilty one, he runs from the mob. Gray follows and then fights with Wesley, who knocks Gray out and then pulls a knife. John, finally aware who really killed the boy, arrives in time to stop Wesley from stabbing the unconscious Gray. John and Wesley fight and Wesley is stabbed and dies. Mason and his boys leave peacefully. John embraces Nora.



Paul Mavis of DVD Talk rated it 3.5/5 stars and called it "a surprisingly nimble, efficient B-western with a lot going on under the surface".[2]

TV Guide rated it 3/4 stars and called it "a finely scripted, produced, and acted film".[3]

See also


  1. Rebel in Town at the American Film Institute Catalog
  2. Mavis, Paul (2011-09-23). "Rebel in Town". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2014-08-19.
  3. "Rebel in Town". TV Guide. Retrieved 2014-09-09.
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