The Baron of Arizona

The Baron of Arizona is a 1950 American Western film directed by Samuel Fuller and starring Vincent Price and Ellen Drew. [2]

The Baron of Arizona
Theatrical release poster
Directed bySamuel Fuller
Produced byCarl Hittleman
Executive producer:
Robert L. Lippert
Associate producer:
Sam White
Screenplay bySamuel Fuller
Based on
1949 article in The American Weekly
StarringVincent Price
Ellen Drew
Music byPaul Dunlap
CinematographyJames Wong Howe
Edited byArthur Hilton
Deputy Corporation
Distributed byLippert Pictures
Release date
  • March 4, 1950 (1950-03-04)
Running time
97 minutes
CountryUnited States

The film concerns a master forger's attempted use of false documents to lay claim to the territory of Arizona late in the 19th century. It is based on the case of James Reavis,[3] whose scheme came close to success, but many of the film's details are fictionalized.


The notorious attempt by swindler James Reavis to claim the entire territory of Arizona as his own before it was granted statehood in 1912 is recounted years later by John Griff, who works for the Department of the Interior.

In 1872, Reavis went to great lengths to forge documents in Spain and create the illusion that he had a legal right to claim all of Arizona his own. He began by seeking out Pepito Alvarez to inquire about Sofia, an infant abandoned by Reavis many years before.

Reavis decides to take Sofia home with him, hire governess Loma Morales to refine her, then marry her, using fabricated proof that identifies Sofia as the rightful "baroness" of Arizona. A suspicious U.S. government, unable to disprove Reavis' claim, offers him $25 million for the rights to the land. He declines.

The surveyor general, Miller, is sure Reavis has somehow doctored the documents. He brings in Griff, an expert on forgery. In the meantime, Reavis orders settlers and families off "his" land. A displaced rancher, Lansing, tosses a bomb into Reavis' office. It still does not discourage him, so Pepito finally threatens to reveal that Sofia's parents were not Spanish land barons at all, but native Indians.

Reavis is revealed as a charlatan. He manages to talk his way out of a lynching, but ends up behind bars. After serving time, he is released and reunited with Sofia ala horse carriage in the rain.


Production and release

Lippert allocated $100,000 to play the lead. Filming began August 20, 1949.[4] Robert L. Lippert spent $100,000 to promote the film. The film was shot in 15 days and a print is preserved by the Museum of Modern Art.

The film marks one of the earliest credits for infamous B-Movie director Ed Wood, who worked on stunts. [5]


  1. Goodman, Ezra (February 28, 1965). "Low-Budget Movies With POW!; Most fans never heard of director Sam Fuller, but to some film buffs he has real class". New York Times.
  2. From the Eclipse Shelf: The Baron of Arizona-Criterion Collection
  3. "Film Tells of Arizona Baron". Wichita Daily Times. March 26, 1950.
  4. 'WEAKER' SEX LAUGHS LAST. (1949, Jul 07). Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  5. The Baron of Arizona (1950)-The Hunt for Edward D. Wood, Jr
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.