3 Bad Men (1926)

John Ford’s Three Bad Men (1926) is an American silent Western film. According to Bob Mastrangelo, Three Bad Men is one of John Ford’s greatest silent Westerns. It is possible that Akira Kurosawa’s 1958 film Three Bad Men in a Hidden Fortress, which is known as The Hidden Fortress elsewhere, was inspired by it.


In 1877, gold was discovered on Sioux land in the Dakotas. Dan O’Malley, the Carltons, a group of outlaws led by “Bull” Stanley, among numerous others, came to Custer in hopes of finding gold and acquiring land when the land was opened for exploration. On their way to steal horses, the outlaws save Lee Carlton from other outlaws who have murdered her father. The outlaws, in turn, decide to protect her on their way to Custer. The sheriff and his cronies are involved in various rackets and conspiracies, including learning where the gold is located and trying to get to it before the others.


The shooting of the movie took place over a fifteen-month period in 1925 and 1926. During filming, Olive Borden, Priscilla Bonner, and Grace Gordon, three of the film’s actresses, became infected with paratyphoid fever and were hospitalized.

The film was shot in the following locations:

  • A desert near Victorville, California
  • Jackson Hole, Wyoming and the surrounding areas


Directed by John Ford
Written by Herman Whitaker (novel Over the Border), John Stone, Malcolm Stuart Boylan, and Ralph Spence
Produced by John Ford
Restored and upscaled by moonflix, LLC


George O’Brien as Dan O’Malley
Olive Borden as Lee Carlton
Lou Tellegen as Sheriff Layne Hunter
Tom Santschi as “Bull” Stanley
J. Farrell MacDonald as Mike Costigan
Frank Campeau as “Spade” Allen
Priscilla Bonner as Millie Stanley
Otis Harlan as Editor Zach Little
Phyllis Haver as Lily (prairie beauty)
Georgie Harris as Joe Minsk
Alec B. Francis as Rev. Calvin Benson (as Alec Francis)
Jay Hunt as Nat Lucas (old prospector)
Grace Gordon as Millie’s pal (uncredited)
George Irving as Gen. Neville (uncredited)
Bud Osborne as Hunter’s henchman (uncredited)
Vester Pegg as Henchman shooting Lucas (uncredited)

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Genres: New Arrivals, Movies, 1920's, Westerns, Western, Silent Films, American Classics, ALL Movies, Western Movies

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