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Ox-Bow Incident, The (TCF 1943, Henry Fonda, Dana Andrews)



William Wellman kept his eyes on the prize to make great western The Ox-Bow Incident, promising two more films to Darryl Zanuck, sidestepping a producer who wanted to shoehorn Mae West into the cast (!), and eventually buying the rights to the book himself.

His dogged perseverance paid off with one of the most quietly powerful western stories ever committed to film. Henry Fonda and Harry Morgan stop at a saloon and get mixed up in a posse when word comes that a rancher has been murdered.

A deputy (Frank Conroy) organizes a lynch mob, and finds a suspicious trio of outsiders, including wanted criminal Anthony Quinn. The mob gives the men time to write letters, recaptures Quinn after an attempted escape and then strings up the strangers despite Fonda’s pleas for justice. When the posse gets back to town, they learn of the enormity of their actions.

Francis Ford, who plays the eldest victim of the lynch mob, was an older brother of director John Ford. Francis was a prominent actor-director in the silent period, but his career foundered with the coming of sound.

Academy Award nomination: Best Picture.

production details
USA | Twentieth Century Fox | 75 minutes | 1943
Director: William A. Wellman
Script: Lamar Trotti, Walter Van Tilburg Clark,

Margaret Hamilton as Mrs. Larch (uncredited)
Paul E. Burns as Winder (uncredited)
Francis Ford as Alva ‘Dad’ Hardwicke (uncredited)
George Meeker as Mr. Swanson (uncredited)
Stanley Andrews as Bartlett (uncredited)
Frank McGrath as Posse Member (uncredited)
Harry Morgan as Art Croft
Mary Beth Hughes as Rose Mapen/Rose Swanson
Henry Fonda as Gil Carter
Dana Andrews as Donald Martin
Anthony Quinn as Juan Martínez/Francisco Morez
Jane Darwell as Jenny Grier
Matt Briggs as Judge Daniel Tyler
Frank Conroy as Maj. Tetley
Marc Lawrence as Jeff Farnley
William Eythe as Gerald Tetley
Paul Hurst as Monty Smith
Victor Kilian as Darby
Rondo Hatton as Gabe Hart (uncredited)
Harry Davenport as Arthur Davies
Chris-Pin Martin as Poncho
Willard Robertson as Sheriff Risley
Ted North as Joyce
C.E. Anderson as Posse Member (uncredited)
Tex Cooper as Posse Member (uncredited)
Larry Dods as Posse Member (uncredited)
Tex Driscoll as Posse Member (uncredited)
Don House as Posse Member (uncredited)
Ben Watson as Posse Member (uncredited)
Hank Bell as Red (uncredited)
William Benedict as Green (uncredited)
George Chandler as Jimmy Cairnes (uncredited)
Forrest Dillon as Mark (uncredited)
George Lloyd as Moore (uncredited)
Tom London as Deputy (uncredited)
Frank Orth as Larry Kinkaid (uncredited)
George Plues as Alec Small (uncredited)
Dick Rich as Deputy Butch Mapes (uncredited)
Almira Sessions as Miss Swanson (uncredited)
Leigh Whipper as Sparks (uncredited)