Going into my research on Jack Slade (1953), I knew there was an actual Jack Slade. But I was unaware of just how close the reel Slade came to the real one.
The film gets many of the basics right. The names are for the most part correct: Joseph “Jack” Slade was married to a Virginia Dale, though it doesn’t sound like she’d ever be mistaken for Dorothy Malone, and he locked horns with a guy named Jules (played by Barton MacLane).
A few more examples. As in the picture, the young Slade killed a man with a rock. He worked as a superintendent for a stage line whose horses were being stolen out from under them. And he had a drinking problem.
You’ll find the story of the real Slade here. Sounds like he was quite a character, and like in the film, not to be tangled with. The picture deviates from the facts in one significant way: the ending. Turns out the real Jack Slade was hung by vigilantes on March 10, 1864 — as of today, 147 years ago.