The Lusty Men
Robert Mitchum, Susan Hayward and Arthur Kennedy star in Nicholas Ray's classic tale of love, ambition and unbridled masculinity.
Champion rodeo rider, Jeff McCloud (Mitchum) is forced to quit when he is thrown by a bull. Beaten and aimless, he drifts back to his childhood home to find a run-down ranch that - like him - has seen better days. Here he meets a jumped up cow-hand Wes Merritt (Kennedy) and his beautiful young wife Louise (Hayward) who dream of buying the property for themselves.
Dazzled by the fast money and excitement of the rodeo game Wes convinces Jeff to work with him as a cow-hand and teach him how to be a champion bronco rider. Much to the despair of Louise it isn't long before they leave their modest lives and hit the road for the rough, tumble and riches of the rodeo circuit.
Seasons pass and the trio become inextricably entwined. Louise longs to leave the circuit but as Wes finds greater success their shared dream seems to vanish. Meanwhile Jeff's years of drifting catch the better of him and his unrequited love for Louise grows.
The love-triangle plays out against the backdrop of this deeply masculine slice of Americana with Ray infusing the picture with all the danger and romanticism of the profession. Mitchum's portrayal of an (emotionally) wounded cowboy is everything that Hollywood leading man dreams are made of. While Hayward's Louise is a figure of beauty and resilience trying to keep her dreams alive.
Shot in gorgeous black and white photography by legendary Hollywood cinematographer Lee Garmes and full of spectacular real-life rodeo footage, The Lusty Men
is a wild ride of a film.
Restored by Warner Bros. in collaboration with The Film Foundation and The Nicholas Ray Foundation.