The Bounty Hunter (1954 film)
The Bounty Hunter is a 1954 western film, the last of six Randolph Scott Westerns directed by Andre DeToth and the first film to feature a bounty hunter as its hero. It was released by Warner Bros. Pictures. It was filmed in 3-D but released in standard format, though a 3-D print exists in the Warner archives. Stock footage from Carson City is used at the beginning of the film.
|The Bounty Hunter|
|Directed by||Andre DeToth|
|Produced by||Samuel Bischoff|
|Written by||Winston Miller (story)|
|Music by||David Buttolph|
|Cinematography||Edwin B. DuPar|
|Edited by||Clarence Kolster|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|September 22, 1954|
A prologue explains the role of the bounty hunter. A wanted criminal named Burch tries to ambush bounty hunter Jim Kipp, but Kipp gets the better of him. Kipp takes Burch's corpse into town to collect the reward. A representative of the Pinkerton Detective Agency asks Kipp to hunt a trio of fugitives. Three masked men committed a robbery and fled with $100,000. Kipp, who has the reputation that he will do anything for money, is offered a huge reward if he can capture the culprits dead or alive.
Kipp rides into the town of Twin Forks, and uses an alias. He seeks information about one fugitive's wounds from Dr. Spencer, who is wary of revealing too much. Kipp is immediately attracted to the doctor's daughter, Julie. A limping man named Bill Rachin, who works at the hotel, draws Kipp's suspicion. So does George Williams, a card dealer. Williams' wife, Alice, flirts with Kipp and tries to coax information out of him. Kipp does not reveal the purpose for his visit.
Vance Edwards identifies Kipp and his reputation as a bounty hunter. Edwards mistakenly believes Kipp is seeking him for another crime. The townspeople become anxious as the truth about Kipp becomes known. Led by the postmaster, Danvers, they offer Kipp a bribe to leave town. Kipp tells several people that he is expecting a package on the next day's stagecoach and in the package is a likeness of one of the robbers. Dr. Spencer later overhears Kipp telling his daughter the same thing and he becomes worried.
Dr. Spencer confronts Williams, who he knows to be associated with the robbers, and demands a meeting with them. Williams tells Spencer the three are playing poker and agrees to take him to their game but shoots Spencer instead. Hearing the shot, Kipp pursues and corners Williams. He tries to force Williams to tell what he knows about the robbery, but Sheriff Brand shoots Williams dead just as Williams was about to reveal information about the robbery. Danvers tries to smother the seriously wounded Spencer, but he is discovered by Julie. Kipp hears Julie's screams and rushes to her; Danvers flees. Kipp follows Danvers as he hastily leaves town and stops when he loses sight of Danvers but hears someone digging in the hills. He then hears a shot and finds Danvers dead next to an empty money box.
Kipp now knows Danvers was one of the three robbers. The next day the stage arrives with the U.S. mail. The sheriff deputizes Rachin and plans to get rid of the bounty hunter. Vance rescues Kipp, grateful that the bounty hunter is not after him. Kipp opens one of the letters in the mail pouch and looks at the contents, then looks at the sheriff. The sheriff reveals himself as one of the robbers when he pulls a gun on Kipp, but Alice Williams kills him. She explains that Brand deserved it for shooting her husband. Julie, who had been watching, struggles with Alice for her gun and Kipp subdues Alice. Kipp realizes that Alice is the third robber. He searches her saddle bag and finds the stolen money. Kipp decides to settle in Twin Forks. He marries Julie, and becomes the new town sheriff.
Randolph Scott plays the title role dressed in black. A lawman without a badge, he explains his occupation as one of wishing to enforce the law but "not wanting to break up fights or throw drunks in jail." When asked by the town sheriff why he became a bounty hunter, he counts his cash reward, replying, "I'm counting the reasons, and they're ten short".