In the early 1900s, Wes Anderson is arrested for night-time cattle rustling (moonlighting). He had been gone from his home town for five years, leaving his sweetheart, Rela, to wait for him. Wes' brother, Tom, has chosen a different path in life and works as a teller in a bank in Rio Hondo. Tom is in-love with Rela and he pressures her to marry him in Wes' absence. Languishing in a sheriff's jail, Wes is awaiting trial, which promises to be a fair one, at least according to the town sheriff. But an angry lynch mob of local ranchers agitate in front of the jail, swinging a hanging rope and hankering for Wes' blood. When the sheriff leaves his jail for a lunch-break, the mob breaks into the jail, grabs an imprisoned hobo by mistake and hangs him. The lynch-mob believes to have hung Wes but he is safe, in jail. After he escapes from jail, Wes vows revenge on the members of the lynch mob. During the following days, Wes raids the ranches of those who participated in the lynch mob. He burns...
"I'LL GIVE YOU AN HOUR TO CHANGE MY MIND 'MOONLIGHTER' BEFORE I TURN YOU IN!" (original poster)
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Did You Know?
According to Ben Mankiewicz on TCM, Barbara Stanwyck did her own stunts during the waterfall scene, and despite becoming black and blue, never held up the production. See more
The sexed-up image of Rela (Barbara Stanwyck), in a short skirt, and low cut blouse, prominently displayed on the poster, is nothing like the politely clothed, 45 year old Stanwyck who appears in the film; the provocative line of dialogue attributed to her on the poster, is never heard. See more
You've changed, Wes.
Nobody stays the same.
Opening credits roll up from behind the scene of mountains, and include "Photographed in Natural Vision 3 Dimension", See more