5 Card Stud is a 1968 American Western mystery film directed by Henry Hathaway and starring Dean Martin and Robert Mitchum. The script is based on a novel by Ray Gaulden and was written by Marguerite Roberts, who also wrote the screenplay of True Grit for Hathaway the following year.

5 Card Stud
US film poster
Directed byHenry Hathaway
Written byMarguerite Roberts
Produced byHall Wallis
StarringDean Martin
Robert Mitchum
Inger Stevens
Roddy McDowall
Katherine Justice
CinematographyDaniel L. Fapp
Edited byWarren Low
Music byMaurice Jarre
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • July 31, 1968 (1968-07-31)
Running time
103 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$3,500,000 (US/ Canada)[1]


In 1880, a gambler in the small town of Rincon, 100 miles from Denver, Colorado, is caught cheating at a five-card stud poker game. The players, led by the volatile Nick Evers, take the cheating gambler to lynch him. One of the players, Van Morgan, tries to prevent the others from administering frontier justice, but is unable to stop the killing. Morgan leaves town, but later returns when he hears that several of the other players from the poker game have become victims of grisly murders.

The town has a new resident, a stern and somewhat edgy Colt .45-carrying Baptist preacher named Reverend Rudd. As more members of the lynch mob are killed off one by one, it becomes clear that someone is taking revenge, and it is up to Morgan to solve the mystery. When Morgan is the last man from the poker game left alive, he realizes that Rudd is the murderer, and he kills Rudd in a shootout.



The song led by Rudd at his first service in Rincon is "Mercy's Call," a late-19th-century Baptist hymn written by W. H. Doane.

This film marked one of the final appearances of Inger Stevens, and the second time that Mitchum played an unorthodox preacher (following 1955's The Night of the Hunter). 5 Card Stud brought together director Henry Hathaway and Dean Martin for a second time; the first was the 1965 film The Sons of Katie Elder starring John Wayne.


In a contemporary review for The New York Times, critic Vincent Canby identified 5 Card Stud as one of a recent spate of "Buddy System" Westerns such as El Dorado (1966) with John Wayne and Mitchum; The Way West (1967) with Kirk Douglas, Mitchum and Richard Widmark; The War Wagon (1967) with John Wayne and Kirk Douglas; Bandolero! (1968) with James Stewart and Dean Martin; and Villa Rides (1968) with Yul Brynner, Mitchum and Charles Bronson. Canby wrote: "Without important exception. all of these titles. stories and settings are interchangeable, to say nothing of the stars, some of whom are beginning to look as if they'd been hatched from dinosaur eggs. ... Buddy System Westerns are somehow basically soft."[2]

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  1. ^ "Big Rental Films of 1968", Variety, January 8, 1969 p 15. Please note this figure is a rental accruing to distributors.
  2. ^ Canby, Vincent (August 1, 1968). "Screen: Buddies Out West". The New York Times. p. 24.

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