Men of Texas
Universal Pictures
(a.k.a. Men of Destiny, UK release)

a.k.a "Deep in the Heart of Texas"
a.k.a "Bad Men of Texas"

Directed by Ray Enright
Written by Harold Shumate
Addional Dialog by Richard Brooks
A George Waggner Production


Released on July 8, 1942

      Texas during the reconstruction period following the Civil War provides the background for this adventurous melodrama of the American Frontier.  Tight script of troubled days of Texas when the Confederate volunteers return home and find the Union troops maintaining martial law in the state.  Ray Enright generates sweep to the dramatic panorama which is unfolded at fast pace.

       Robert Stack, war correspondent for the Chicago Herald, returns from his Civil War assignment with photographer Leo Carrillo, and is assigned to get the real story of the great state of Texas.  Pair go to Huntsville, home of General Sam Houston, and they observe the disruption that is tearing the populace between secession from the Union or continuance to countenance martial law.  Brod Crawford starts as a patriot but gathers a wild gang of outlaws and guerrillas around him to ravage even the natives.  But he's disposed of at the finish when John Litel, Confederate colonel, pleads for Union abandonment of banditry.  Along the line, Stack falls in love with Anne Gwynne, southern belle.


 

Cast:

Robert Stack

Broderick Crawford

Jackie Cooper

Anne Gwynne ... Jane Baxter Scott

Ralph Bellamy

Leo Carrillo

John Litel

Production:

W. Scott Darling and Gerald Geraghty- Writers 

Ray Enright- Director 

George Waggner- Producer

George Robinson- Cinematographer

Edward Cutlass- Editor

Full Storyline

Upon the conclusion of the Civil War, field correspondent Barry Conovan and photographer Sam Sawyer of theChicago Daily Herald are sent by their editor to find General Sam Houston, the missing one-time president of the old Republic of Texas. On a stagecoach bound for Huntsville, they meet Jane Baxter Scott (Anne Gwynne), the daughter of one of Houston's old Confederate comrades.

Along the trail, the stage comes upon pregnant Sarah Olson, whose husband has just been killed by outlaw raiders. They stop at a seemingly deserted cabin so that she may give birth, and there Barry finds a cache of new rifles. Henry Clay Jackson then arrives at the cabin with a group of riders and claims to be Jane's fiancé, making suspect her previous romantic attentions toward Barry.

Later, Barry and Sam are welcomed upon their arrival in Huntsville by Major Lamphere, the military governor of the district. There, a homecoming party is held for Jane, during which her father, Colonel Colbert Scott, who was thought killed in the war, returns. Meanwhile, the raiders rob the local bank, and after the banker kills one of the outlaws, Jackson murders him, then pretends to lead the posse.

One of the soldiers, however, recognizes Robert Houston Scott, Jane's younger brother, as one of the raiders. Later that night, Robert sneaks into the Scott home and tells his father and his aunt, Hattie Florence, that he is now part of a guerrilla army, lead by Jackson, which is set on winning back Texas' independence. Jackson then leads a murderous raid upon the Indian agency run by Luther Crittenden. Sam tries to photograph the raiders as they make their escape, but he snaps a picture showing only a right boot and spur.

Jackson later shoots Barry while the newspaperman romances Jane, causing the southern belle to confess her love for the wounded man, much to Jackson's horror. Barry recuperates at the Scott home, but is ordered to leave upon his recovery when he refuses to support Colbert's anti-American political views. Sam later recognizes Jackson's spur as the one he had photographed, and he and Barry are captured by the outlaw gang and taken to their hideout. T

he egomaniacal Jackson then forces Barry to write articles about his "patriotic" work, in which Jackson proclaims to be the next Sam Houston. Barry tries to convince Robert that Jackson is little more than an opportunistic outlaw, and the lad finally learns the truth when he overhears Jackson confessing his true intentions to the reporters. After Robert helps the newspapermen escape, however, he is killed by Jackson.

Back in Huntsville, Barry and Sam try to tell Colbert the truth about Jackson, only to have the outlaw arrive with the murdered Robert, claiming that he was killed by "the Yanks." It is Jackson, however, who is arrested by Lamphere for Robert's murder. After Jackson is convicted of the crime, Barry asks him to confess all, so that the innocent citizens of Huntsville will not be injured protecting a false patriot.

Jane pleads with her father to do likewise, so Colbert seeks guidance at the grave of his old friend, Sam Houston. As Jackson's execution is about to begin, the angry townspeople gather, until Colbert arrives in his old Confederate uniform and calls upon the mob to disperse and accept being Americans as well as Texans. The cocksure Jackson is then surprised to see the townspeople turn against him, and is told by the ghost of Sam Houston that he is about to get what he truly deserves.

 

Copyright © 2001, 2010