Cast: Alan Ladd, Jean Arthur, Van Heflin, Brandon de Wilde, Emile Meyer, Jack Palance, Ben Johnson, John Dierkes, Edgar Buchanan, Elisha Cook, Jr., Douglas Spencer, Ellen Corby, Paul McVey, John Miller, Edith Evanson, Leonard Strong, Ray Spiker, Janice Carroll
In 1880’s Wyoming, Shane (Ladd) rides into the farm of Joe Starrett (Heflin), his wife Marian (Arthur), and their son Joey (de Wilde). The Starrett’s log cabin lies in a broad valley near the majestic Grand Tetons mountains. Shane stops at the Starrett’s place for a drink of water. Cattleman Rufus Ryker (Meyer), his brother Morgan (Dierkes), and cowboy Chris Calloway (Johnson) ride in, trampling over Starrett’s garden. Rufus Ryker tells Starrett that he has a government beef contract and will need all the range land for his cattle. Starrett and the other homesteaders must leave the valley to make room for his herd. But Starrett does not plan to leave. Ryker begins to threaten Starrett, but he notices Shane, who wears a revolver like he knows how to use it and appears totally unfazed by the cattlemen. Wary of the confident armed stranger, the cattlemen warn Starrett off and ride out. The Starretts invite Shane to stay for dinner, and afterwards Shane helps Joe cut up and uproot a large tree stump on the yard. Asked to stay and help with work on the farm, Shane agrees to linger for a while. Shane’s first errand is to go to town for supplies. Unarmed, he purchases work clothes for himself at Grafton’s Mercantile and is getting Joey a soda pop at the adjacent bar when he is confronted by Calloway. Shane endures mocking and taunting from Calloway and other cowboys, who learn he is working for Starrett. Meeting at Starrett’s cabin, a group of homesteaders, harassed and threatened by Ryker’s men, debate whether to pull out or stand firm. Every encounter between Shane and Joey shows that Joey idolizes him, and every meeting between Marian and Shane hints at a growing attraction between them. On edge because of Ryker’s mounting threats, the homesteaders go to town for supplies as a group. Shane is again affronted by Calloway, but this time he fights back and subdues him after a fistfight. Ryker turns his henchmen loose on Shane and an uneven fistfight ensues, but Joe joins in and he and Shane prevail. Emboldened by the arrival of Jack Wilson (Palance), Ryker’s newly hired gunman, Ryker’s men escalate their campaign against the homesteaders, killing their animals and cutting their fences. When farmer Frank Torrey (Cook) goes to town he is taunted and insulted by Wilson. Goaded into reaching for his revolver, Torrey is shot dead. After Torrey’s grim funeral, only Joe’s eloquence and resolve keep the homesteaders from departing at once. Shane must use his skill in dealing with dangerous situations to restore order and safety to the valley and preserve Marian’s family. Based on Jack Schaefer’s novel of the same name.