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Branded (1950 film)

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Rudolph Mate

Music director

United States


Crime, Western


Branded (1950 film) movie poster

Release date
December 23, 1950 (1950-12-23) (San Francisco)

(Choya), (Ruth Lavery), (Mr. Lavery), (T. Jefferson Leffingwell),

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Branded is a 1950 Technicolor western film starring Alan Ladd, Mona Freeman, Charles Bickford, and Robert Keith. It was adapted from the novel Montana Rides by Max Brand under pen name Evan Evans. A gunfighter on the run from the law is talked into posing as the long-lost son of a wealthy rancher.


Branded (1950 film) movie scenes


Branded (1950 film) movie scenes

Choya (Alan Ladd), a gunfighter on the run, is tracked down by cowboys Leffingwell (Robert Keith) and "Tattoo" (John Berkes) in the mountains. They make him a part of a scheme to bilk a rich rancher named Lavery (Charles Bickford). The plan requires a tattoo on Choya's shoulder, but as soon as "Tattoo" creates one, Leffingwell shoots him in the back.

Branded (1950 film) wwwgstaticcomtvthumbdvdboxart1308p1308dv8

Choya rides to Lavery's Bar M ranch and asks foreman Ransome (Tom Tully) for a job, but doesn't get it. While they fight, Lavery and daughter Ruth (Mona Freeman) ride up. Lavery feels the ranch could use another good hand, so Choya is hired.

Branded (1950 film) Lauras Miscellaneous Musings Tonights Movie Branded 1950

Ruth tells the new man how her 5-year-old brother was a kidnap victim many years ago, never seen again. One day, Lavery notices the tattoo and is amazed because his long-lost son had one just like it. Choya pretends it is a coincidence, but tells a story about a childhood memory that convinces Mr. and Mrs. Lavery that he is "Richard, Jr."

Branded (1950 film) Lauras Miscellaneous Musings Tonights Movie Branded 1950

Leffingwell turns up and is hired at the ranch. His plot is to kill Lavery so that Choya can inherit the ranch. A guilt-ridden Choya offers him an alternative, stealing Lavery's stock on a cattle roundup.

Branded (1950 film) Lauras Miscellaneous Musings Tonights Movie Branded 1950

Ruth rides along. Choya likes her so he double-crosses Leffingwell and has the cattle money deposited in the Lavery's account in an El Paso bank. He also learns that Leffingwell is the one who kidnapped the kid, only to have a Mexican bandit named Rubriz (Joseph Calleia) snatch the boy away. He confesses to Ruth and leaves the ranch.

Branded (1950 film) Lauras Miscellaneous Musings Tonights Movie Branded 1950

Choya crosses the border and finds Lavery's son has been raised by Rubriz under the name Tonio. He persuades Tonio to return to his real home. Rubriz has raised the boy as his own son, and stung by his apparent betrayal, sends his men after them. Leffingwell also gives chase but is killed in a stampede. Choya and Tonio are trapped near the Rio Grande, but rescued just in time by Lavery and Ransome.

Branded (1950 film) BRANDED 1950 Alan Ladd Lobby card 5

Rubriz comes to the ranch with his men to kill them but is disarmed by Choya. Choya convinces him that Tonio did not betray him. Lavery makes a pact with Rubriz that the boy is old enough to go anywhere he pleases. Choya plans to ride off for good, but Ruth tells him that if he is leaving, she is going with him..


  • Alan Ladd as Choya
  • Mona Freeman as Ruth Lavery
  • Charles Bickford as Mr. Richard Lavery
  • Robert Keith as T. Jefferson Leffingwell
  • Joseph Calleia as Rubriz
  • Peter Hansen as Tonio
  • Selena Royle as Mrs. Lavery
  • Tom Tully as Ransom
  • John Berkes as Tattoo
  • Milburn Stone as Dawson
  • Martin Garralaga as Hernandez
  • Original Novel

    The film was based on the 1933 novel Montana Rides. It was written by Max Brand as Evan Evans. (The year before RKO had released a Tom Keene Western called Montana Rides but the plot was different.

    The novel concerned a gunman, Montana, aka Arizona Kid, aka Mexico Kid, who impersonates the missing son of cattle magnate Richard Lavery. It turns out the real son is raised by a local outlaw, Meteo Rubriz. The New York Times called it "an exceptionally absorbing an exciting tale." The Los Angeles Times called it a "swinging, lilting Western... written with incredibly quiet savagery."

    The novel was so popular it led to a sequel, Montana Rides Again. In this, the Montana Kid is lured into Mexico by bandit Mateo Rubriz and Friar Pacaul, who decide to steal an emerald from the governor which had been looted from a church.


    In 1948 Hedda Hopper announced that Winston Miller sold the story to Paramount, who would make it as a vehicle for Alan Ladd, with Miller to write the script and Robert Fellows to produce.

    Leslie Fenton was originally set to direct. Fenton was then assigned to make The Jewell, so the film was handed to Rudolph Mate. Mel Epstein became the producer.

    In March 1950 the film was retitled Branded.


    The movie was mostly shot on location in Arizona, in the border country near Douglas. Locations included Salt River Canyon, in the Dragoon Mountains, at the Slaughter Ranch and Cave Tree Canyon.


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