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Western films, from silent to today

Rage at Dawn (1955)

Rage at Dawn (1955) posterRandolph Scott plays James Barlow, a former Southern spy. He agrees to work as an undercover agent in Indiana in an attempt to break up the Reno gang.

He rides into town pretending to be a painter, but the $100 bills he flashes makes folks wonder.

His ploy: convince the Reno gang he’s a fellow outlaw, convince them to go along on a train robbery he plans, then spring a trap at the last minute.

What Barlow didn’t count on is falling for the Reno brothers’ sister, Laura (Mala Powers). She wants her brothers to go straight. She fears for their safety every time they go out on “a job”

When one of the brothers is killed during a botched holdup, her fears merely grow. But she continues to offer her home as a safe haven.

She sees Barlow as a way out, until he reveals his phony identity as a fellow outlaw. Then, like the Renos, she comes to believe he’s an outlaw too.


The interaction between the Reno brothers, their sister and their lawful brother Clint is well done.

And the twist at the end, with the lynch mob that can’t be stopped, comes as a surprise.

Otherwise, a routine outing considering Scott’s presense.

One obvious plot hole: The Renos have an entire county under their thumb because they split their bounty with the judge (Edgar Buchanan), the sheriff (Ray Teal) and the prosecuting attorney (Howard Petrie). They can safely walk the streets of Seymour. Yet they need to hide out with their sister?

Randolph Scott as James Barlow in Rage at Dawn (1955)Directed by:
Tim Whelan

Randolph Scott … James Barlow
Mala Powers … Laura Reno
Forrest Tucker …Frank Reno
J. Carroll Naish … Sim Reno
Myron Healey …. John Reno
Edgar Buchanan … Judge
Howard Petrie … Latitmore
Ray Teal … Sheriff of Seymour
Denver Pyle … Clint Reno
Kenneth Tobey … Monk Claxton
Trevor Bardette … Fisher
William Forrest … William Peterson

Runtime: 87 min.

Memorable lines:

Clint Reno: “So it finally happened: A Reno got killed.”
Sim Reno: “Clint, we want no preaching!”
Clint: “The baby of the family, dying in the street, and his big, brave brothers running away. Not even animals would do a thing like that.”
John Reno: “Dead in the street. Not dying.”
Clint: “As if that made any difference.”

Frank Reno: “When you ride with us Barlow, don’t ask no questions.”

Fisher, Jackson County lynch mob leader: “This is something that has to be done. And done with as little compunction as you would kill a rattlesnake.”

Sim Reno, to brother John during an attempted lynching: “Shut up and stop beggin’ like a yellow belly.”

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