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The Doolins of Oklahoma (1949)

„The Doolins of Oklahoma“ is a western film from 1949 directed by Gordon Douglas based on a story and screenplay by Kenneth Gamet.

In Oklahoma, after the Civil War, conflict between homesteaders and cowboys leads to the formation of outlaw gangs like the James Boys and the Younger Brothers. After U. S. Marshals target the Dalton gang and attack them during a bank robbery, the only member remaining alive is Bill Doolin.

Later, in self-defense, Doolin kills Wichita Smith, the man who informed on the Daltons, and is chased by a posse. Doolin evades his pursuers, however, and joins forces with Red Buck, Thomas „Arkansas“ Jones, Tulsa Jack Blake, Bitter Creek, and Little Bill, who become known as the Doolin Gang.

After several months of robbing banks, Doolin splits the take among the gang members and orders them to separate until things cool off. They agree to meet in three months time in the town of Ingalls. Riding just ahead of the pursuing marshals, Doolin hides out in a church in the small town of Claymore. After completing a service, Deacon Burton (Griff Barnett) invites Doolin to join his family for dinner. At first, Doolin turns down the invitation, but when the posse returns, he accepts in order to avoid it.

At dinner, he talks with Elaine, Burton’s attractive daughter, who speaks so tenderly of the joys of farming that Doolin decides to try it. By the end of the three months, Doolin, using the name ’Bill Daley’, has married Elaine and settled on a farm. When Little Bill returns for him, he explains that he wants to leave the gang.

Later, however, two gang members, posing as marshals, reveal Doolin’s identity to Elaine, and Burton persuades him to leave town. As time passes, the gang grows increasingly restive. Doolin takes them back to Ingalls for a rest, but an undercover Marshal, Sam Hughes is waiting in town, and fetches the posse. During the ensuing gunfight, Tulsa is killed and Arkansas is captured.

Later, Bitter Creek and Red Buck are also killed. Doolin then suggests that he and Little Bill hide out on Doolin’s old farm, which he is sure will be deserted. To his surprise, Elaine is still living there, waiting for his return. They decide to leave together for an area between Kansas and Texas that has not been claimed by the government. When the marshal in Claymore, Heck Thomas (Robert Barrat), sees Elaine buying supplies, he becomes suspicious and investigates. Little Bill warns Doolin and then starts a stampede of wild horses to cover Doolin’s escape. Little Bill is killed in the stampede, but Doolin manages to slip into town and meet Elaine. As they talk, he realizes how hard a life on the run will be for her and sends her to her parents. After she rides out of sight, Doolin walks out to meet his death.

A 1949 American Black & White Western film directed by Gordon Douglas, produced by Harry Joe Brown, written by Kenneth Garnet, cinematography by Charles Lawton Jr., starring Randolph Scott, George Macready, Louise Allbritton, John Ireland, Virginia Huston, Charles Kemper, Noah Beery Jr., Dona Drake, Robert Barrat, Lee Patrick, Griff Barnett as Deacon Burton, Frank Fenton, and Jock Mahoney. Final film of Evelyn Selbie. Distributed by Columbia Pictures.

Yakima Canutt was the second unit director. One of the only films in which Randolph Scott plays an outlaw and also a character who dies at the end.

Bands of outlaws were meat and drink to the Hollywood Western, and if they contained brothers and robbed trains and banks, so much the better. The Reno brothers were probably the first but of the James gang and the Youngers often appeared on screen, and later examples such as the Daltons were popular, too. The last in the line were the Doolins, offshoots of the Daltons, who marauded in Oklahoma in the 1890s. They had a variety of names, The Wild Bunch, The Oklahombres and The Oklahoma Long Riders (for the long dusters they wore).

Burt Lancaster, Audie Murphy and Randolph Scott all had a go at being Bill Doolin. William Doolin (1858–96) was a cowboy who got into a shooting scrape in Coffeyville on July 4th 1892 and then joined up with the Dalton gang. Rumors persist that Doolin was “the sixth man” holding the horses in an alley at the fatal Coffeyville raid in 1892. Emmett Dalton, the only survivor of the raid, never disclosed who the man was. Doolin then formed his own gang. From 1893-95 Doolin and his cronies (who included the teenage girls Cattle Annie and Little Britches) went on a spree of crime, including the so-called Battle of Ingalls, until Doolin’s career finally came to an abrupt end caused by the shotgun of Heck Thomas.

Bill Doolin’s character was evoked thirty years later in Lamont Johnson’s „Cattle Annie and Little Britches“ (1981, featuring Burt Lancaster as Doolin.

A minor Western of quality. It’s not history, but it’s a good Randolph Scott western that forgets the facts and films the legend.


  • Randolph Scott – Bill Doolin / Bill Daley
  • George Macready – Marshal Sam Hughes
  • Louise Allbritton – Rose of Cimarron
  • John Ireland – Bitter Creek
  • Virginia Huston – Elaine Burton
  • Charles Kemper – Thomas „Arkansas“ Jones
  • Noah Beery Jr. – Little Bill
  • Dona Drake – Cattle Annie
  • Robert Barrat – Marshal Heck Thomas
  • Lee Patrick – Melissa Price
  • Griff Barnett – Deacon Burton
  • Frank Fenton – Red Buck
  • Jock Mahoney – Tulsa Jack Blake
  • Paul E. Burns – Al
  • Aleth Hansen – Banjo Player
  • Vernon Dent – Bank Clerk
  • Jack Tornek – Bank Clerk
  • Art Felix – Barfly
  • Al Haskell – Barfly
  • George Plues – Barfly
  • William H. O’Brien – Bartender
  • Brick Sullivan – Bill Broadwell
  • Evelyn Selbie – Birdie
  • Joe Palma – Card Player
  • Al Thompson – Coffeyville Citizen Outside Bank
  • Victor Cox – Coffeyville Deputy
  • Herman Hack – Coffeyville Deputy
  • Herman Nowlin – Coffeyville Deputy
  • Stanley Andrews – Coffeyville Sheriff
  • Kermit Maynard – Cowhand Angry About Barbed Wire
  • David Clarke – Dalton
  • Charles Sullivan – Dalton Gang Member
  • George Chesebro – Deputy
  • Ethan Laidlaw – Deputy
  • Tom McDonough – Deputy
  • Joe Phillips – Deputy
  • Al Hill – Deputy Madison
  • Pat O’Malley – Deputy Marshal
  • Al Bridge – Deputy Sheriff
  • John Sheehan – Dunn, Wayside Innkeeper
  • William Haade – Emmett Dalton
  • Trevor Bardette – Ezra Johnson, Farmer
  • Reed Howes – Grat Dalton
  • Jack Parker – Hosteler
  • Shooting Star – Indian
  • Stanley Blystone – Jailer
  • Buck Bucko – Joe
  • Tony Taylor – Little Boy in Church
  • Frank O’Connor – Man Shouting „Hold-Up!“
  • Chuck Hamilton – Marshal
  • Lloyd Ingraham – Marshal Nix
  • George DeNormand – Masterson
  • Mira McKinney – Maudie
  • George Bell – Minor Role
  • Rose Higgins – Minor Role
  • Paul Scardon – Minor Role
  • Michael Smith – Minor Role
  • Tony Urchel – Minor Role
  • Virginia Brissac – Mrs. Burton
  • Claire Meade – Mrs. Johnson
  • Al Wyatt Sr. – Posse Member
  • Michael Jeffers – Rancher With Barbed Wire
  • James Kirkwood – Rev. Mears
  • Gertrude Astor – Saloon Girl
  • Harry Tyler – Storekeeper
  • Bob Reeves – Table Pusher
  • George Huggins – Townsman
  • John Kellogg – Townsman
  • Blackie Whiteford – Townsman
  • Harry Hayden – Train Conductor
  • Eddie Dunn – Train Engineer
  • John Bose – Train Passenger
  • Minerva Urecal – Train Passenger
  • Robert Osterloh – Wichita Smith
  • Anne O’Neal – Woman on Train