Three Hours to Kill Cast and Character Guide(1954)

Three Hours to Kill Cast: Three Hours to Kill is a classic Western film released in 1954, directed by Alfred L. Werker and produced by Harry Joe Brown. This film stands as a testament to the enduring popularity of Westerns during the mid-20th century, featuring an engaging cast and an intriguing plot. In this comprehensive review, we will delve into the cast, plot, production, reception, and ultimately, the lasting legacy of this cinematic gem.

Three Hours to Kill Cast
Three Hours to Kill Cast
Directed by byAlfred L. Werker
WritersRichard Alan Simmons
Roy Huggins
Maxwell Shane
Based ona story by Alex Gottlieb
ProducerHarry Joe Brown
Star castDana Andrews
Donna Reed
Dianne Foster
CinematographyCharles Lawton Jr.
MusicPaul Sawtell
EditerGene Havlick
Production companyColumbia Pictures
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release dateNovember 4, 1954 (United States)
Duration1H 17M
CountryUnited States
Three Hours to Kill Cast

Three Hours to Kill Cast

Boasts a talented ensemble cast, bringing life to its characters:

  • Dana Andrews as Jim Guthrie: The film’s protagonist, a man falsely accused of murder, who returns to town three years later to clear his name.
  • Donna Reed as Laurie Mastin: Laurie is Jim’s former fiancée, who believes he is responsible for a crime and has moved on with her life.
  • Dianne Foster as Chris Palmer: Chris is a mysterious woman who becomes entangled in Jim’s quest for justice.
  • Stephen Elliott as Sheriff Ben East: The town’s sheriff, who must confront his own doubts about Jim’s guilt.
  • Richard Coogan as Niles Hendricks: A key character in the unfolding mystery.
  • James Westerfield as Sam Minor: The sheriff’s right-hand man, who assists in the investigation.
  • Laurence Hugo as Marty Lasswell
  • Carolyn Jones as Polly
  • Richard Webb as Carter Mastin
  • Charlotte Fletcher as Betty
  • Francis McDonald as Deputy Vince
  • Whit Bissell as Deke


Opens with a gripping scene where Jim Guthrie is falsely accused of murder in the small Western town of Hangman’s Knot. To escape an angry mob, Jim flees town, leaving behind his fiancée Laurie Mastin, who believes him to be guilty.

Three years later, Jim returns to Hangman’s Knot, determined to clear his name. As he unravels the mystery surrounding the murder and the events leading up to it, he encounters various townspeople, including Sheriff Ben East, who still holds doubts about his innocence. Along the way, Jim crosses paths with the enigmatic Chris Palmer, who plays a significant role in his quest for justice.

As the narrative unfolds, secrets are revealed, and the true culprits are exposed. Jim’s journey to clear his name and reclaim his life is fraught with tension, action, and moral dilemmas. The film culminates in a thrilling showdown that will keep viewers on the edge of their seats.

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Three Hours to Kill was produced by Harry Joe Brown, a prolific producer known for his work in Westerns. The film was directed by Alfred L. Werker, who brought his expertise to create a visually striking and emotionally engaging narrative. The screenplay was penned by Richard Alan Simmons, based on a story by Alex Gottlieb.

The film was shot in Technicolor, a relatively new and vibrant color process at the time. The use of Technicolor added depth and richness to the film’s visual appeal, capturing the rugged landscapes of the American West in all their glory.

The production team successfully recreated the atmosphere of a small Western town, with detailed set design and authentic costumes, immersing the audience in the time and place of the story. The film’s score, composed by Paul Sawtell, complemented the action and drama, enhancing the overall viewing experience.


Upon its release in 1954, Three Hours to Kill received generally positive reviews from both critics and audiences. The film was praised for its compelling narrative, strong performances, and impressive use of Technicolor.

Dana Andrews delivered a standout performance as Jim Guthrie, earning accolades for his portrayal of a man determined to clear his name against all odds. Donna Reed’s role as Laurie Mastin added emotional depth to the story, and Dianne Foster’s enigmatic Chris Palmer garnered attention for her mysterious character.

Critics noted the film’s suspenseful atmosphere and well-executed action sequences, with particular praise for the climactic showdown. The film’s pacing and storytelling were considered strengths, as it kept viewers engaged from start to finish.


In conclusion, Three Hours to Kill is a classic Western film from 1954 that continues to be celebrated for its engaging plot, strong performances, and impressive production. It remains a testament to the enduring appeal of Westerns during the mid-20th century, offering a gripping narrative set against the backdrop of a small Western town.

The film’s enduring legacy is a testament to the talents of its cast and crew, as well as its ability to capture the essence of the Western genre. It remains a must-watch for fans of classic cinema and those interested in the timeless allure of the Wild West.

Three Hours to Kill Cast” serves as a reminder of the power of storytelling in film and the enduring appeal of the Western genre, making it a significant contribution to the cinematic landscape of its time.

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