The Man from Colorado

The Man from Colorado is a 1949 American Technicolor western-psychological drama film directed by Henry Levin and produced by Jules Schermer for Columbia Pictures. It stars Glenn Ford as a Union officer who becomes addicted to killing during the American Civil War, William Holden as his best friend, and Ellen Drew as their common love interest. Robert Andrews and Ben Maddow based the screenplay on a story by Borden Chase.

The Man from Colorado
Theatrical release poster
Directed byHenry Levin
Produced byJules Schermer
Screenplay byRobert Andrews
Ben Maddow
Story byBorden Chase
StarringGlenn Ford
William Holden
Music byGeorge Duning
CinematographyWilliam Snyder
Edited byCharles Nelson
Columbia Pictures
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • January 20, 1949 (1949-01-20)
Running time
98 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$1 million[1]
Box office$2 million[2]

Levin replaced Charles Vidor during filming.[3]


In Colorado near the end of the American Civil War, Union Colonel Owen Devereaux (Glenn Ford) orders his regiment to fire on a detachment of Confederate soldiers, even though he (and only he) has seen that they are signaling their surrender with a white flag. Afterward, his best friend and second-in-command, Captain Del Stewart (William Holden), finds the white flag, considers it and then buries it as a surviving Confederate officer secretly looks on.

Immediately after the battle, the soldiers find out that the war has ended. As the soldiers celebrate, Sergeant Jericho Howard (James Millican) gets drunk while on duty and is insubordinate to Devereaux, who has him arrested. At a celebratory ball in the troops' hometown, the mayor announces Devereaux's appointment as the federal judge for the region. Stewart asks Caroline Emmett (Ellen Drew) to marry him, but she is undecided between the two friends and later marries Devereaux instead.

When the Confederate survivor confronts Devereaux about the white flag, Devereaux disarms him and then shoots him several times with his own gun, even though the man has already been subdued. Stewart realizes that Devereaux must have seen the flag and concludes that the war has unhinged his mind. He agrees to serve as Devereaux's marshal after Devereaux promises not to carry a gun and participate in arrests.

Many of Devereaux's volunteer troops owned mines before the war, but a wealthy businessman named Big Ed Carter (Ray Collins) has claimed the mines for his company. As federal judge, Devereaux upholds Carter's claim based on a legal technicality.

Meanwhile, Jericho escapes and stages a series of gold robberies. Devereaux's uncle, Doc Merriam (Edgar Buchanan), hopes that the end of the war and marriage to Caroline will settle Devereaux down, but Devereaux hangs Jericho's partner after a hasty summary trial out in the country following a posse chase, prompting several other men to join Jericho. Devereaux also threatens to hang Jericho's younger brother Johnny (Jerome Courtland) based on circumstantial evidence after another robbery, even though Johnny is not part of his brother's gang. After warning Devereaux not to hang Johnny, Stewart finds Jericho and persuades him to turn himself in, but when Devereaux hangs Johnny, Stewart resigns in disgust and joins Jericho's gang.

After Stewart helps to rescue some men from being hanged, Devereaux lures him into town by spreading a rumor that Caroline is in danger, arrests him and puts him in jail. When Caroline sees this, she breaks into Devereaux's desk and reads his diary, finally realizes that he is mentally unstable and persuades Doc Merriam to rescue Stewart. She begins to put Stewart and Doc Merriam on a carriage to alert the state government of Devereaux's instability, but Devereaux shoots Stewart, so she drives the carriage for Stewart and the doctor as they flee to a nearby mining town. Devereaux cannot get the miners to surrender Stewart, and he eventually sets fire to the town. When Carter accuses him of being crazy with jealousy over Caroline's loyalty to Stewart, he rides into town, confronts Stewart, Jericho and Caroline. Devereaux fights with Jericho and is killed when a wall from a burning building falls on them.

Stewart boards a stage to travel to Washington DC to plead on behalf of the dispossessed miners, but promises Caroline he will return.



  1. "109-Million Techni Sked". Variety. 18 February 1949. p. 14.
  2. "Top Grossers of 1949". Variety. 4 January 1950. p. 59.
  3. METRO TO DO FILM OF RUSSIAN NOVEL: Robert Taylor Van Heflin Are Named by Studio for Roles in 'Brothers Karamazov' By THOMAS F. BRADY Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file); New York, N.Y. [New York, N.Y]22 Mar 1947: 10.
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