How well do you know "High Noon?"

Torrance Grey

Image: Stanley Kramer Productions

About This Quiz

This iconic 1952 Western film has practically become synonymous with lone bravery in the face of danger. Find out how much you really remember about "High Noon" with our quiz!

Who played the stoic lawman in "High Noon?"

Since "High Noon," Gary Cooper has been the comparison of choice for male actors who play strong, upright characters -- from Kevin Costner to "Buffy's," Marc Blucas. Fewer people actually remember the name of the town marshal Cooper played.

What was the name of Gary Cooper's marshal?

The name is somewhat ironic -- "Cain" was the first murderer in the Bible -- but also kind of evocative. "Will" reflects his strong will; he refuses to run away.

"High Noon" takes place all in one day. Why is this day significant to Will Kane?

Kane is marrying pretty Amy Fowler. It's a little after 10 a.m. when the ceremony takes place; the rest of movie happens virtually in real time.

Which actress played Amy Fowler (soon Kane)?

Grace Kelly was nearly 30 years younger than her co-star, Cooper. Things haven't changed much since then: actress Maggie Gyllenhaal spoke out recently about being called "too old" at 37 to play the love interest of a 55-year-old actor.

What other life change does Kane make on his wedding day?

He turns over his star-shaped badge right after the ceremony. Kane is giving up the job because of his new wife.

What is the name of the town in which "High Noon" is set?

In the film, it isn't made clear which state Hadleyville is in. The popular belief that it's in New Mexico probably comes from the source material, a short story called "The Tin Star."

What religion is Amy Fowler?

Amy's religion isn't just a sidenote; it's vital to the plot. The Quakers are pacifists, so Kane is giving up his lawman's job, because it involves carrying a gun and sometimes engaging in violence.

What is Kane going to do instead of being a lawman?

Peace-loving Amy wants to run a general store in a new town. It's a fresh start for Kane.

What is the name of the "badman" coming back to town?

Miller used to virtually run Hadleyville. From what the residents say, it was a real den of sin back then -- and some of them miss the old days.

Where was Frank Miller before?

This is why Kane has a lot to lose when Miller returns. It's likely Frank will be gunning for the marshal who put him away -- and the judge, too, but the judge wisely leaves town.

When the townspeople get the telegram saying that Frank Miller is out of prison, what do they want?

Kane's just given up the job, and they insist he not stay to fight Miller. (Or maybe some of them actually miss the two-fisted lawlessness of the days when Miller ran Hadleyville!)

How do the Kanes travel out of Hadleyville?

They don't get too far before Kane reins the two horses to a stop. He doesn't feel right about leaving Hadleyville undefended.

What is unsatisfactory about the new marshal?

If the marshal job had gone to young deputy Harvey Pell, then age might have been the issue. The new marshal is probably competent; it's just that he's not there yet.

Who played Harvey, Kane's deputy marshal?

Bridges plays the deputy marshal who wanted the top job. He didn't get it, and he blames Kane for not recommending him to the "city fathers."

Where do members of Miller's gang wait for him?

The three toughs, including Miller's brother, Ben, loiter on the platform awaiting Frank. Apparently they scare everyone else away -- the platform is otherwise empty.

Where does Kane NOT look for men to be special deputies?

Kane gets no takers: at the saloon they sneer at him, and at church, parishioners decide a fight in the streets will be bad publicity for Hadleyville. It's not hard to sympathize with the former marshal, though: He might be Kane's friend, but he's retired and arthritic, and probably justified in staying home.

Who is the only man willing, early on, to become a special deputy?

Herb Baker is a townsman who is supportive of WIll Kane; we don't learn much more about him than that. Sam Fuller is another briefly-sketched character, apparently a friend whose help Kane unsuccessfully seeks. Fun fact: If the diminutive actor playing Fuller looks familiar, it's because later in life Harry Morgan played Colonel Potter on "M*A*S*H."

What is a man doing out behind the barbershop?

In true Old West style, the barber is also the undertaker. When he hears that Frank Miller is coming back to town, he tells his handyman that they're going to need at least four coffins.

To what city does Amy buy a train ticket?

Amy and Kane virtually split up on their wedding day. She doesn't support his decision to face Miller, so she buys a train ticket out of town.

Where does Amy wait for the train?

Remember, Miller's men are loitering on the platform. Though it doesn't seem likely they'll know her connection to Will Kane (they just got back into town), they're an unsavory trio, and Amy is wise to wait elsewhere.

Who lives in the hotel where Amy is waiting?

Ramirez owns the saloon. Though she's been in town for a while, the fact that she's living in a hotel suggests her outsider status: the townspeople still don't really accept her.

Which of these men is not a past or present lover of Helen Ramirez?

Helen has a thing going on with Harvey; early on, we see them having breakfast together. But as the hotel clerk puts to Amy Kane: "She used to be a friend of your husband. Before that, she was a friend of Frank Miller."

Where do Harvey and Kane have a fistfight?

Harvey wants Kane to get out of town so badly, he saddles a horse for him, then gets in a brawl when Kane won't go. Why Harvey feels so strongly about this isn't clear -- he's already washed his hands of his former boss.

Who urges Amy to stand by Kane's side?

Helen, Kane's ex-lover, is hard on Amy for abandoning him. Helen is getting out of town herself, but then, she didn't just marry Kane an hour earlier.

Which member of Amy's family was killed by gun violence?

"They were on the right side, but that didn't matter when the shooting started," Amy says. It's for this reason she became a Quaker.

Why does Herb Baker back out of being a deputy?

Herb isn't willing to be the only man backing Kane up. We kind of see his point -- two against four is not good odds, when the four are armed and can split up to shoot from different vantage points.

What is Kane writing as the clock ticks toward noon?

With no one to back him in the final gun battle, Kane evidently expects to die. Apparently he wants to be sure the family silver goes to the right person!

How does the livery stable catch on fire?

"High Noon" offers all the classic set pieces you'd expect from a Western: A barn fire, a stampede of horses, a lawman in the middle of an empty street at noon ... There's a reason it's a classic.

Who shoots the henchman, Pierce?

Amy leapt off the train and went back to help her husband. She shoots Pierce through the window of the marshal's office -- he never saw it coming.

Besides Amy, who comes to Kane's side in the final battle?

Even Amy is slow to come to her husband's aid, waiting until she hears shots fired from the battle. But without her reluctance, and everyone else's, we wouldn't have had that iconic scene of Gary Cooper in the empty street.

What does Kane do with his star in the end?

Kane's gesture is accompanied by no dialogue, but doesn't need any. He makes clear what he thinks of the fickle people of Hadleyville.

Who said, "It takes more than broad shoulders to make a man, Harvey."

Helen Ramirez says this to her lover, Harvey, who does have broad shoulders. She also suggests that he might never be a real man -- ouch!

Who said, "The commandments say, 'Thou shalt not kill,' but we hire men to go out and do it for us"?

Will Kane interrupts a church service to seek special deputies, and there are arguments for and against his request. When someone asks the parson his opinion, he can't say what the right thing to do is.

Who said, "There's limits to what you can ask a man"?

Herb says this as he backs out of being a deputy in the fight with the Miller gang. He adds, "I got a wife and kids."

Was "High Noon" in color, or black-and-white?

There had already been color films before "High Noon." But the processes used were expensive and painstaking, which is why color movies didn't dominate, yet.

What color is Gary Cooper's hat?

Yup, the "white hat" in the movie wore a black hat! Though "High Noon" was filmed in black-and-white, the hat's color is obvious from the contrast to other colors. Plus, you can see it in the color posters for the movie.

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