Stranger on the Run
DVD cover of Stranger on the Run
  • Drama
  • Western
Based onReginald Rose
Written byDean Riesner
Directed byDon Siegel
StarringHenry Fonda
Anne Baxter
Michael Parks
Music byLeonard Rosenman
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
ProducerRichard E. Lyons
CinematographyRussell Harlan
EditorBruce B. Pierce
Running time97 minutes
Production companyUniversal Television
Original release
  • October 31, 1967 (1967-10-31)

Stranger on the Run is a 1967 American made-for-television Western film directed by Don Siegel and starring Henry Fonda, Anne Baxter and Michael Parks. In some countries it premiered in cinemas.


Former inmate and alcoholic Ben Chamberlain comes to a railway town enquiring about a woman, of whom all seem afraid to speak; he receives a beating just for asking. Chamberlain braves the threats and calls at her house; he discovers her strewn, beaten dead body. The sheriff and his posse of local thuggish enforcers, incorrectly assuming that Chamberlain is the culprit because he left town without reason, form a posse. Although they catch him in the desert, the sheriff prevents his being lynched and gives him a horse and a head-start chance to reach the border. Chamberlain meets a lonely, widowed homesteader, a woman whose troubles also include a son who aspires to be a gunman, but does not have the steely nature it takes. Chamberlain and she start to develop a mutual attraction, but this is interrupted when the posse arrives.

Both her son and the town need a new beginning in life. If the two can survive a 20-minute gunfight before the sheriff arrives, then all may be given their last chance in life.[1]



Quentin Tarantino called it Siegel's best western after Flaming Star. He stated, "even though it has the Universal TV look of a The Virginian episode, it has, after Andy Robinson's performance as Scorpio in Dirty Harry, the best performance in a Siegel film. Michael Parks as stoic, resilient, walrus-mustached sheriff Vince McKay."[2]

Biographer Judith M. Kass offers this assessment of Stranger on the Run:

"Although made for television, Stranger shows that Seigel gave it as much attention as any of his best feature work. Its muted tans, dusty atmosphere and the feeling of most of the inhabitants that the town is in the grip of a force stronger than itself pervades the film. It is a movie that parallels much in Seigel’s feature film work."[3]

Kass adds: "By constructing a narrow world where good confronts evil, often within the same personality, Seigel’s films show the audience his preoccupations."[4]


  1. ^ Kass, 1975 p. 93-94: Plot summary
  2. ^ Tarantino, Quentin (December 24, 2019). "The Shootist". New Beverly Cinema. Archived from the original on January 24, 2020. Retrieved March 23, 2020.
  3. ^ Kass, 1975 p. 92-93
  4. ^ Kass, 1975 p. 94-95