High Lonesome

High Lonesome movie 1950High Lonesome

High Lonesome is a 1950 contemporary Western movie written and directed by Alan Le May. The film stars John Drew Barrymore (billed as "John Barrymore, Jr.") and features Chill Wills and Jack Elam.


A boy is found stealing food at Horse Davis' ranch by Boatwhistle, the cook. Another rancher, Pat Farrell, who is engaged to Horse's daughter Abby, believes the boy to also be a horse thief and possibly worse.

Given the nickname Cooncat by the cook, the boy explains that he was wrongfully accused of murdering a man named Shell and has fled from the law. Shell owed him money, he says, and two strangers known as Smiling Man and Roper gave him a gun to confront Shell. He wound up unconscious and next to Shell's bullet-riddled body.

Horse doubts the boy's story, though youngest daughter Meagan believes it. At an engagement party for Pat and Abby, word comes that Pat's parents have been found murdered. A livid Pat is ready to hang Cooncat for the crime. Horse talks him out of it, creating a rift between the two old friends.

Smiling Man and Roper turn up in the bunkhouse. They laugh at Cooncat's predicament and call him their lucky charm. Boatwhistle is shot by Smiling Man, and just as Horse is about to be ambushed, Cooncat calls out to warn him and is wounded. Pat rides up just in time to save Horse's life. The two ranchers agree to take Cooncat under their wing.


This movie was filmed on location entirely in and around several working ranches in the Marfa and Fort Davis Texas area.