The Ox-Bow Incident 1943

The Ox-Bow Incident takes place in Nevada in 1885 and begins with Art Croft (Harry Morgan) and Gil Carter (Henry Fonda) riding into the town of Bridger’s Wells.

They go into Darby’s Saloon (Canby’s, in the novel) and find that the atmosphere is subdued; as Gil says, “It’s deader than a Paiute’s grave”, in part because of the recent incidents of cattle-rustling (the stealing of livestock) in the town. Everyone wants to catch the thieves.

Gil learns that his former girlfriend left town at the start of the spring. Art and Gil are suspected of being rustlers simply because they are not often seen in town. The townspeople are wary of them, and a fight breaks out between Gil and a local rancher named Farnley.
Immediately after the fight, another man races into town on horseback, goes into the saloon and announces that a man named Kinkaid has been murdered. Kinkaid was, it turns out, a very good friend of Farnley. The townspeople immediately form a posse to pursue the murderers, who they think to be the cattle rustlers. Art and Gil join the posse as well, although they feel that the posse will not see proper justice done.

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