Unemployed cowboy Dempsey Rae is riding the rails aimlessly when he witnesses the murder of a brakeman. Arriving in a small town in Wyoming, he turns in the murderer and collects the reward. Together with young Jeff Jimson, he hires on at the Triangle ranch. At first, Dempsey sides with beautiful rancher Reed Bowman in her fight with neighbouring small ranchers who are erecting barbed wire to protect their lands against the Triangle’s huge herd. But when the lady boss hires gunfighters to help with her plans and they beat Dempsey up, he switches allegiances … In this later western, the trail no longer leads west, but instead north. The attempted land grab presents a dilemma for the hero – ever since barbed wire left him and his family scarred, he has seen it as an evil thing. But it is the only way to protect the open range from the greedy hands of the rich lady land grabber. Like Howard Roark, the architect in The Fountainhead, the “man without a star” is one of the fierce lone warriors who are central feature of King Vidor’s later work.
by King Vidor
with Kirk Douglas, Jeanne Crain, Claire Trevor, William Campbell, Richard Boone, Jay C. Flippen, Myrna Hansen, Mara Corday, Eddy Waller, Sheb Wooley
USA 1955 English 89’ Colour Rating R16


  • Kirk Douglas
  • Jeanne Crain
  • Claire Trevor
  • William Campbell
  • Richard Boone
  • Jay C. Flippen
  • Myrna Hansen
  • Mara Corday
  • Eddy Waller
  • Sheb Wooley


Director King Vidor
Screenplay Borden Chase, D. D. Beauchamp
Story Dee Linford Man Without a Star (1952)
Cinematography Russell Metty
Editing Virgil Vogel
Music Joseph Gershenson
Sound Leslie I. Carey, Joe Lapis
Art Director Alexander Golitzen, Richard H. Riedel
Costumes Rosemary Odell
Assistant Director Frank Shaw
Producer Aaron Rosenberg

Produced by

Universal-International Pictures Co., Inc.

Additional information

Print: 35mm collection print courtesy of the UCLA Film & Television Archive, Santa Clarita, CA
(dye-transfer print)

King Vidor

Filmography (selection)

1919 The Turn in the Road; Lost film 1925 The Big Parade (Die große Parade) 1928 The Crowd (Ein Mensch der Masse) 1929 Hallelujah 1934 Our Daily Bread (Der letzte Alarm) 1938 The Citadel 1940 Northwest Passage (Nordwest-Passage) 1947 Duel in the Sun (Duell in der Sonne) 1949 The Fountainhead (Ein Mann wie Sprengstoff) 1956 War and Peace (Krieg und Frieden) 1959 Solomon and Sheba (Salomon und die Königin von Saba)

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2020