Escort West is a 1959 Western, first released on Jan. 23, 1959, but sometimes listed as a 1958 release. The movie is set after the U.S. Civil War, when a former Confederate officer, played by Victor Mature, and his daughter help some survivors of an Indian massacre.
It was the second of two co-productions between Batjac and Romina Productions. Their first was China Doll (1957).
The movie was filmed largely on the Iverson Movie Ranch in Chatsworth, Calif., with additional footage shot on the nearby Bell Moving Picture Ranch. The site of the Bell Ranch location shoot remained a mystery for decades until it was discovered on an expedition by film location researchers in early 2015. The researchers found the location by using information from "Escort West" and the first Elvis Presley movie, Love Me Tender, which filmed its climactic sequence at the same site, known as the "Rocky Hill."
Now that the Civil War is over, former Confederate officer Ben Lassiter and his 10-year-old daughter ride west to Nevada, where they stop off briefly at a stagecoach rest station. There they encounter sisters Beth and Martha Drury, who greet them in different ways. Beth is cordial to Ben, whereas Martha makes no secret of her dislike for rebel soldiers.
Beth is engaged to an army captain, Poole, and plans to travel to Oregon with her sister, whose husband was a Union officer killed in the war. Indians attack the rest station after Ben and his daughter ride off. When he sees warriors with liquor from the way station, Ben doubles back. He finds the Drury sisters safe, hidden in a cellar, plus an Army payroll that the Indians neglected to take.
Ben escorts the women west and intends to deliver the payroll to Poole, who is fighting off Indian attacks himself. Ben's bravery repeatedly impresses Beth, but with each passing hour Martha becomes more unstable. She panics, flees and the Indians kill her. Ben copes with a pair of Army deserters and a renegade scout named Tago along the way, ultimately leading Beth and his daughter to safety.Victor Mature as Ben Lassiter
Reba Waters as Abbey Lassiter
Elaine Stewart as Beth Drury
Faith Domergue as Martha Drury
Noah Beery Jr. as Lt. Jamison
Harry Carey Jr. as Trooper Travis
Slim Pickens as Corporal Wheeler
Ken Curtis as Trooper Burch
X Brands as Tago
Roy Barcroft as Sgt. Doyle
William Ching as Capt. Howard Poole
John Hubbard as Lt. Weeks
Rex Ingram as Nelson Walker
Syd Saylor as Elwood Fenniman
Claire Du Brey as Mrs. Kate Fenniman
Chuck Hayward as Indian
Charles Soldani as Indian
Eddie Little Sky as Indian (uncredited)
Francis Lyon originally bought the story for his own Leo Productions. He eventually set up the movie with Batjac.