The Tall T
Tagline – Taut! Torrid! Tremendous! T Is for Terror!
Starring – Randolph Scott (Pat Brennan), Richard Boone (Frank Usher), Maureen O’Sullivan (Doretta Mims), Arthur Hunnicutt, (Ed Rintoon), Skip Homeier (Billy Jack), Henry Silva (Chink).
Released – April, 1957
Directed By – Budd Boetticher
Produced By – Comumbia Pictures Corporation, Scott-Brown Productions, Producers-Actors Corporation
Distributed By – Columbia Pictures
Description – Pat Brennan agrees to bring back some candy for the son of a way station manager when he returns from town. First he stops at a ranch where he formally worked to buy a bull. While there he is goaded into a bet. If he can ride a particular bull, he can have it for free. If he is thrown, he loses his horse.
Thrown from the bull, Pat is now walking home carrying his saddle. While on the road a stagecoach comes along carrying newlyweds Willard and Doretta Mims the daughter of the richest man in the state. Pat knows the driver and is happy to catch a ride.
When the honeymoon coach stops at the way station it is thought to be the regular stage by three outlaws who have already killed the station manager and his son. They had hoped to rob the regular stage.
Afraid of ending up as dead as the station manager, cowardly Willard Mims suggests that the outlaws hold his new wife Doretta for ransom from her father. The ransom amount is $50,000. The ransom note is delivered and Doretta’s father sends a message back that he will get the money together.
No longer needed by the outlaws, Willard is told he can leave. When doing so, he is gunned down by one of the outlaws.
Brennan knows that they will all be killed when the ransom is delivered. There seems to be no way out for the hostages.
NOTABLE: Originally titled “The Captives” (Elmore Leonard’s original story title) and/or “The Tall Rider”. Prior to release, the title was changed to “The Tall T,” the name of the Tenvoorde ranch in the early scene
At 45 Maureen O’Sullivan was considered too old for her character. However, she played the part well and explains her marriage to the younger character Willard as a move of desperation over her character growing old and remaining unmarried.
Columbia Pictures released The Tall T as part of a double bill with Hellcats of the Navy (1957) starring Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan.
Personal Note: The Tall T is one of my favorite westerns. One of many that teamed Director Budd Boetticher with, one of the most natural acting western actors ever, Randolph Scott.