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The Man from Tumbleweeds (1940)

Passed | | Action, Adventure, Music | 2 May 1940 (USA)
Powder Kilgore (Ray Bennett as Raphael Bennett) kills freighter Jeff Cameron (Edward LeSaint) and the latter's daughter, "Spunky" (Iris Meredith), sends for gunfighter Wild Bill Saunders (... See full summary »


Joseph H. Lewis


Charles F. Royal (original screenplay) (as Charles Francis Royal)


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Complete credited cast:
Bill Elliott ... Wild Bill Saunders
Iris Meredith ... 'Spunky' Cameron
Dub Taylor ... Cannonball
Ray Bennett ... Powder Kilgore (as Raphael Bennett)
Francis Walker ... Lightning Barlow
Ernie Adams ... Shifty Sheldon
Al Hill ... Honest John Webster
Stanley Brown ... Henchman Dixon (Ranger Dixon in credits)
Richard Fiske ... Ranger Slash (Henchman Slash in credits)
Edward LeSaint ... Jeff Cameron
Don Beddoe ... Governor Dawson


Powder Kilgore (Ray Bennett as Raphael Bennett) kills freighter Jeff Cameron (Edward LeSaint) and the latter's daughter, "Spunky" (Iris Meredith), sends for gunfighter Wild Bill Saunders (Bill Elliott, in another of his more than 195 films in which he was never, not once, billed as William 'Wild Bill' Elliott.) Bill finds that few men care to buck the Kilgore gang, and he gets consent from Governor Dawson (Don Beddoe) to form a state ranger's organization out of gunmen now in prison, the men to be pardoned if they prove themselves worthy. (A plot line used at least six times by writer/director Robert Emmett Tansey elsewhere in a ten year period.) Bill whips a Kilgore henchman, Lightning Barlow (Francis Walker), who is offering "Spunky" protection in return for a half-share in her freighting business. Bill jails Barlow and other Kilgore gang members when he and his "rangers" foil an attempted gold-shipment holdup. "Spunky" and her helper Cannonball (Dub Taylor) stumble on Kilgore's ... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


BILL ELLIOTT... Shootin' His Way To Stardom! See more »


Passed | See all certifications »






Release Date:

2 May 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Al amparo del terror See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Columbia Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Follows Pioneers of the Frontier (1940) See more »


Sung by Dub Taylor
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User Reviews

A fast early Joseph H. Lewis Western, a bit canned but well enough constructed
31 March 2011 | by secondtakeSee all my reviews

The Man from Tumbleweeds (1940)

The claim to fame here is slight--it's directed by Joseph H. Lewis, later famous for some inventive, raw low budget movies like "Gun Crazy" (1951). It is directed with his usual fast, visual panache, though he's inexperienced here and it shows. The script is pretty routine, too, and so when the dialog intrudes, it intrudes.

But it's fast, there are several turns of events, one of the main characters is a woman sheriff, and there are lots of gun fights, horse chases, double crossing, and broad black and white landscape. I liked it more than I should have, and it's partly how really well it was directed. With better actors and better dialog, this would easily be memorable.

This is one in a series of one hour Westerns starring actor Bill Elliott, a sheriff who loved to be violent to bring in the bad guys, and would say, "Some folks call me Wild Bill. But I'm a peaceable man." It's the only Elliott film Lewis directed.

Elliott was an Old West kind of character himself, and was the lead in several movie (low budget) serials, playing detective Gordon Elliott in some 28 of them, then a turning point came when Elliott (as Gordon Elliott) played Wild Bill Hickcok, the historical figure as portrayed in the 1938 movie. After this he played in Westerns for two decades. In the first four in the series, he played Wild Bill Saunders, and this is the third of them, all for Columbia Pictures. Then he switched to the more famous Wild Bill Hickcock himself for 12 films. When he moved to Republic pictures he starred as himself, Wild Bill Elliott.

Should you see this? Why not? It's nothing much, but it's not bad, if you like Westerns of this sort. Any John Ford movie is better, of course, but this short and exciting. Oh, and don't be fooled by the opening credit that says Hygo Television Films--that was added for the 1953 re-release for t.v.

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