WriterLuke Short, Jack Moffitt, C. Graham Baker, Cecile Kramer Release dateMay 2, 1947 (1947-05-02) CastJoel McCrea (Dave Nash), Veronica Lake (Connie Dickason), Don DeFore (Bill Schell), Donald Crisp (Sheriff Jim Crew), Preston Foster (Frank Ivey), Arleen Whelan (Rose Leland) ScreenplayLuke Short, C. Graham Baker, Jack Moffitt, Cecile Kramer Similar moviesOld Yeller, The Big Country, Bucking Broadway, Sunset Trail, Phantom Rancher, Cassidy of Bar 20
TaglineMen are so Easy!... A Little Lace, a Pair of Lips, a Touch, and they Kill for you!
Ramrod is a 1947 Western film directed by Andre DeToth. This cowboy drama from Hungarian director DeToth was the first of several films based on the stories of Western author Luke Short. DeToth's first Western is often compared to films noir movies released around the same time. The film stars Joel McCrea and Veronica Lake, who was then married to director DeToth.
Connie Dickason (Veronica Lake) is the strong-willed daughter of a ranch owner (Charles Ruggles), who is under the control of powerful local cattleman Frank Ivey (Preston Foster), a man her father once wanted Connie to marry. Connie instead takes up with a sheep rancher who is run out of town by Ivey. She inherits the man's land.
The conniving and manipulative Connie persuades ranch hand Dave Nash (Joel McCrea) to be her "ramrod," or ranch foreman. He recruits an old pal, Bill Schell (Don DeFore), who bends the law to his own purposes now and then but is fiercely loyal to Dave, to come help him run the ranch and fend off the ruthless Ivey.
Rose Leland (Arleen Whelan) is in love with Dave and he feels great affection toward her. Connie seduces both Dave and Bill to do her bidding, however. She even persuades Bill to stampede her own cattle, without Dave's knowledge, just so Ivey will appear guilty to the law. Sheriff Jim Crew (Donald Crisp) goes to arrest Ivey and is shot down in cold blood. Dave is ambushed by a couple of Ivey's men. He kills one of them, Red Cates (Lloyd Bridges), but is badly wounded. Bill hides him, but Connie carelessly exposes their hideout. Bill volunteers to distract Ivey and his men while Dave turns to Rose for shelter. Ivey hunts down Bill in the mountains and shoots him in the back.
Dave has had enough. He confronts Ivey in the street, armed with only a shotgun, but beats him to the draw. Connie is delighted. At last, she has her land and her man. Dave, though, wants nothing more to do with her, returning to Rose's arms.
Production and response
It was the first film from the independent production company Enterprise and was Lake's first movie as a star outside Paramount. Shooting took place in Zion and Grafton in Utah.
The film received a positive review from The New York Times, which said in summary "the director, scenarists and cast, many of whom are no strangers to this sort of emoting, have pitched in with vim to make this horse opera a pleasant variation on a venerable theme." According to Variety the film earned $2 million, with a negative cost of $1.5 million. This made it one of the more successful films from the short-lived Enterprise Productions.