Powder River (film)

Powder River is a 1953 American Technicolor Western film directed by Louis King and starring Rory Calhoun, Corinne Calvet and Cameron Mitchell.

The screenplay was written by Stuart N. Lake, who two years later was the story consultant on the ABC/Desilu western television series, The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp.


In 1875, ex-lawman Chino Bull puts away his guns and heads for the Powder River with old pal Johnny Slater to pan for gold. Ambushed by outlaws Loney Logan and Will Horn, he gets away safely thanks to Johnny and rides to town for supplies.

At a saloon run by beautiful Frenchie Dumont, he meets Loney's brother, Harvey, a card dealer. A drunken Sam Harris begins shooting up the place, killing the sheriff with a stray bullet. Chino knocks him cold. Frenchie's beau, gunslinger Mitch Hardin, intervenes, but after being stricken with a headache so painful it incapacitates him, Chino saves his life.

Chino rejects an offer to become the town's new sheriff, but back at the river finds Johnny dead and their gold stolen. In town, a stagecoach delivers the sophisticated Debbie Allen, who has come from Connecticut to find her former sweetheart, Mitch, who it turns out was once a doctor there. She realizes that Mitch is now involved with Frenchie and also that he is suffering from a brain tumor, causing the severe headaches. Debbie decides to go back East on the next stage.

Chino sets a trap. Accompanied by Mitch, who owes Chino for saving his life, and Debbie, leaving town, they let word leak of a $300,000 gold shipment being aboard. Loney's men come to rob it and are defeated, but Debbie is shot. In town, Mitch is the only one with the surgical skill to save Debbie's life, and he does so. But when all seems well, Chino discovers that it was Mitch who murdered Johnny and stole the gold. As they begin to shoot it out, Mitch shoots Chino's gun out of his hand, collapses in agony and dies in Chino's arms. Frenchie arrives, sobs and cradles Mitch's head. The next day Frenchie boards the stage leaving Chino and Debbie to their future together.


  • Rory Calhoun as Chino Bullock
  • Corinne Calvet as Frenchie Drumont
  • Cameron Mitchell as Mitch Herdin
  • Penny Edwards as Debbie Allen
  • Carl Betz as Loney Hogan
  • John Dehner as Harvey Logan
  • Raymond Greenleaf as Prudy
  • Victor Sutherland as Mayor Lowery
  • Ethan Laidlaw as Lame Jack Banner
  • Frank Ferguson as Johnny Slater
  • Val Setz as Great Balso
  • Heinie Conklin as Barfly (uncredited)