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Directed by Nicholas Ray

United States 1952 113 mins.

Shot primarily in Pendleton, Oregon, The Lusty Men was produced during the Howard Hughes RKO era, a period of relative financial failure. Naturally, Ray does his best with meager resources, directing Robert Mitchum as Jeff McCloud, an injured cowboy who decides to hang it up and return to his hometown after many years away. He signs on with a local ranch and quickly befriends Wes (Arthur Kennedy), a fellow hand with big dreams, who convinces Jeff to train him in the rodeo. Wes’s wife Louise (Susan Hayward) sees the reality of ranch-hand life, however, and fears that Wes is going down the wrong path. Despite immediate success and minor fame, Wes must grapple with this harsh reality when Jeff, by now fully washed-up, decides to re-enter the rodeo. “This film is not a Western. This film is really a film about people who want a home of their own.”—Nicholas Ray.