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Vengeance Valley


A cattle baron takes in an orphaned boy and raises him, causing his own son to resent the boy. As they get older the resentment festers into hatred, and eventually the real son frames his stepbrother for fathering an illegitimate child that is actually his, seeing it as an opportunity to get his half-brother out of the way so he can have his father's empire all to himself.

Vengeance Valley is a 1951 American Western (genre) film starring Burt Lancaster, based on the novel by Luke Short. In 1979, the film entered the List of films in the public domain in the United States due to MGM's failure to renew its copyright registration in the 28th year after publication.<></>


Fifteen years ago, wealthy but crippled Colorado cattleman Arch Strobie took in young Owen Daybright to help raise his wild son, Lee Strobie. Now Owen is the ranch foreman, but he still has to keep Lee out of trouble.
Unmarried Lily Fasken gives birth, but uses to identify the father: Lee. Lee is married to Jen, who is unaware he has been unfaithful. Lily's brothers, Hub and Dick, believe that Owen is the guilty party, as he gave her $500 to take care of the baby, but are not aware that Owen did so on Lee's behalf. The brothers pick a fight with Owen and are put behind bars for a week, vowing to get even as soon as they're out.
Arch chides Lee for overdrawing his bank account by withdrawing $500 in gold, causing Jen to realize that her husband is the baby's father. When she confronts him, Lee tries to lie his way out, which causes Jen to stop loving him. She decides to leave him, but is persuaded by Owen to stay and try to work things out.
Lee also is ambitious. He tells Arch he will strike out on his own; Arch gives him a half-interest in the ranch immediately to keep him around, with the other half going to Owen after Arch is gone.
Jen locks Lee out of their bedroom. Lee gets drunk and mistakenly believes she and Owen are carrying on behind his back. (In fact, the two are strongly attracted to each other, but do nothing about it.) Lee schemes to get rid of Owen and make a fortune at the same time by conspiring with Hub and Dick to ambush Owen on the spring cattle roundup.
On the trail, Lee secretly sells 3,000 head of Arch's cattle, but Owen learns about it. When Owen uses to be a party to robbing Arch, Lee pretends to give in. He persuades Owen to go with him to see the buyer, but in fact he lures Owen into a trap.
When Hub and Dick start shooting, Owen is slightly wounded, but he kills Dick and a posse ride to his rescue and deal with Hub. Because Lee rode away without trying to help, Owen knows he was in on the ambush. When he catches up with Lee, he tries to persuade his former friend to return home and confess everything to Arch. Instead, Lee draws his gun, forcing Owen to kill him. Owen breaks the news to Arch and Jen.


  • Burt Lancaster as Owen Daybright
  • Robert Walker (actor) as Lee Strobie
  • Joanne Dru as Jen Strobie
  • Sally Forrest as Lily Fasken
  • John Ireland (actor) as Hub Fasken
  • Carleton Carpenter as Hewie, a loyal young ranch hand in love with Lily
  • Ray Collins (actor) as Arch Strobie
  • Ted de Corsia as Herb Backett, a cattle rustler Owen beats up
  • Hugh O'Brian as Dick Fasken
  • Will Wright (actor) as Mr. Willoughby, the ranch cook
  • Grayce Mills as Mrs. Burke
  • Jim Hayward as Sheriff Con Alvis
  • James Harrison as Orv Esterly
  • Stanley Andrews as Mead Calhoun


According to MGM records the film earned $1,997,000 in the US and Canada and $1,149,000 elsewhere resulting in a profit of $841,000.< name="Mannix"/>

See also

  • List of films in the public domain

  • Category:1951 films
    Category:1950s Western (genre) films
    Category:American films
    Category:American drama films
    Category:Films based on Western (genre) novels
    Category:Films directed by Richard Thorpe
    Category:Films shot in Colorado
    Category:Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer films
    Nicholas Nayfack

    More Public Domain Movies