Civil War vet, Howard Kemp returns from the war to find his fiancée sold his ranch and married another man. Bitter and angry, he becomes a bounty hunter, and while bringing a brutal murderer to justice, Kemp falls prey to the killer’s cruel manipulation.


The Naked Spur

Stars James Stewart, Janet Leigh and Robert Ryan! As intense in action as it is a psychological thriller, The Naked Spur, serves to demonstrate the breadth and brilliance of James Stewart as an actor. Stewart, known for his mild-mannered, kindhearted characters (much like Stewart himself!) plays a tortured, bitter, sometimes cruel man who is at a point-of-no-return in his life.

Civil War veteran, Howard Kemp returns home to find he no longer has a home. Before he went off to war, he entrusted his ranch and all of his belongings to his fiancée, Mary, and in his absence, fighting for a cause he believed in, she sold his land and house, and married another man. Blinded by anger and driven by a hardened-heart, he is determined to reclaim what’s rightfully his.

With little money to his name, the quickest way to earn the sum it would take to buy back his ranch is also the most dangerous. He becomes a bounty hunter with his eye on the biggest prize in the west: a $5,000 reward, to bring in the notorious murderer, Ben Vandergroat, dead or alive.

From Abilene, Kansas, Kemp heads west to the Rockies. In spite of his intention to travel alone, he enlists the help of Jesse Tate, an old, failed gold prospector, as a trail guide. Later the men pick up Roy Anderson, a Union soldier whose immoral character earned him a dishonorable discharge. He agrees to help Howard capture the brutal killer. They spot Vandergroat up a sheer cliff, and Anderson scales the façade to bring the murderer down. But Vandergroat isn’t alone. He is traveling with the attractive, young Lina Patch, the daughter of his friend Frank, who was killed when he attempted to rob a bank in Abilene.

Now, the real struggle begins. The men must retrace their steps to bring Vandergroat back to Abilene to see justice served, and for Kemp to collect his bounty. The rugged terrain, an Indian attack in which Kemp saves Lina’s life, but suffers a gunshot wound is just the beginning of their treacherous journey, because Vandergroat has a secret weapon that needs no bullets or sheath, just pure malice—devious manipulation. He begins to sow the seeds of doubt, avarice and lust, pitting each man and Lina against each other, which strikes straight at Kemp’s heart, as he and Lina begin to fall in love.

Now Vandergroat’s utter cruelty is matched by just one other—Kemp, whose tortured soul is at the brink of becoming as malicious as the criminal he has in custody.

In one defining moment, Kemp will have to decide how he will live the rest of his life—in darkness, plagued by demons from the past? Or will he put his old life behind him, and make a fresh start?

James Stewart, Always the Gentleman.

In direct contrast to the vile character he plays in The Naked Gun, James Stewart was as kind and nice as can be on the set.

Janet Leigh talks about a scene that she, Robert Ryan and Stewart were to shoot, but the crew couldn’t get the lighting right for their close-ups.

Leigh said, the assistant director, “…dismissed Jimmy for the day, since his work was done. Jimmy, as only he can, said, ‘Well, I can’t do that, you see, because, well, that just wouldn’t be right, now would it? I think I’ll just hang around, and be off camera for my friends there.’ And he stayed the entire tedious afternoon, only to play the scene in back of the camera, while it was focused on us. Now, that is a pro!”