The Lawless Breed

The Lawless Breed is a 1953 American Technicolor Western film distributed by Universal-International, directed by Raoul Walsh, and stars Rock Hudson and Julie Adams. The film is based on the life of outlaw John Wesley Hardin.

The Lawless Breed
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRaoul Walsh
Produced byWilliam Alland
Screenplay byBernard Gordon
Story byWilliam Alland
StarringRock Hudson
Julie Adams
Music byJoseph Gershenson
CinematographyIrving Glassberg
Edited byFrank Gross
Distributed byUniversal International
Release date
  • January 3, 1953 (1953-01-03) (United States)
Running time
83 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$1.3 million (US)[1]


Wild West gunslinger and gambler John Wesley Hardin (Rock Hudson) is pardoned and released from Huntsville, Texas prison in 1896, after serving 16 years of a 25-year sentence. He recounts his exploits outside the law (shown in flashbacks) with a manuscript detailing his life. The woman he planned to marry is killed, and he later marries a saloon girl (Julie Adams). On the run and using aliases, they begin a normal life, and have a son just before he is captured and sent to prison. His life as an outlaw influences his son, who grows up while Hardin served time, but on his release Hardin makes clear to the young man that a life of crime is no way to live.


Home media

Universal first released the film on DVD in 2007 as part of its Classic Western Round-Up, Volume 1 set, a 2-disc set featuring three other films (The Texas Rangers, Canyon Passage, and Kansas Raiders). The exact same set was re-released in 2011, as part of Universal's 4 Movie Marathon DVD series, being repackaged as the "Classic Western Collection". In 2015, the film re-released as a stand-alone DVD from the Universal Vault Series; the only difference in this release was that no subtitles were provided on-screen. There are also Region 2 and Region 4 DVD releases of this film.


  1. "The Top Box Office Hits of 1953", Variety, January 13, 1954

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