Stranger on Horseback (1955): Jacques Tourner’s Western, Starring Joel McCrea (Trial, Testifying in Fear)

Jacques Tourneur directed Stranger on Horseback, a Western starring Joel McCrea, based on screenplay inspired by Louis L’Amour’s story.

Stranger on Horseback
Stranger on Horseback film poster.jpg

Theatrical release poster

Circuit judge Rick Thorne rides into Bannerman and discovers the town is controlled by rich rancher Josiah Bannerman and his kin.

Upon meeting sheriff Nat Bell and district attorney Buck Streeter, he inquires why Bannerman’s arrogant son Tom got away with killing a man without an arrest or trial.

Offered no assistance, Thorne stands up to Tom and then jails him. He becomes acquainted with Bannerman’s beautiful niece, Amy Lee, who is attracted to Thorne.

Thorne finds allies in Caroline and Vince Webb, who are willing to testify with evidence against Tom in court. Thorne realizes he needs to sneak Tom and the Webbs to a different town if he’s to get fair trial.

Bannerman and his men pursue them, and Amy Lee watches as Tom deliberately causes Vince Webb’s death.

In the end, Thorne gets the prisoner to the next town safely, and Amy Lee goes to court to back him up.

It was filmed in and around Sedona, Arizona.

Joel McCrea as Judge Richard ‘Rick’ Thorne
Miroslava as Amy Lee Bannerman
Kevin McCarthy as Tom Bannerman
John McIntire as Josiah Bannerman
John Carradine as Col. Buck Streeter
Nancy Gates as Caroline Webb
Emile Meyer as Sheriff Nat Bell
Robert Cornthwaite as Arnold Hammer
Jaclynne Greene as Paula Morrison
Walter Baldwin as Vince Webb
Emmett Lynn as Barfly
Roy Roberts as Sam Kettering
George Keymas as Bannerman’s Henchman
Lane Bradford as Kettering Henchman (uncredited)
Dabbs Greer as Hotel Clerk (uncredited)
Frank Hagney as Bartender (uncredited)


Directed by Jacques Tourneur
Screenplay by Herb Meadow, Don Martin, based on story by Louis L’Amour
Produced by Robert Goldstein
Cinematography Ray Rennahan
Edited by William B. Murphy
Music by Paul Dunlap

Production: Leonard Goldstein Productions, Robert Goldstein Productions

Distributed by United Artists

Release date: March 23, 1955

Running time: 66 minutes