- Directors: George Stevens
- Producers: George Stevens
- Writers: Jack Schaefer, A B Guthrie Jr
- Genres: Drama, Western
- Actors: Alan Ladd, Jean Arthur, Van Heflin, Brandon De Wilde, Jack Palance
A mysterious stranger named Shane (Alan Ladd) drifts into an isolated western valley. It soon becomes apparent that he is a gunslinger, and he finds himself drawn into a conflict between simple homesteader Joe Starrett (Van Heflin) and powerful cattle baron Rufus Ryker (Emile Meyer), who wants to force him and every other homesteader in the valley off the land. Shane accepts a job as a farmhand, but finds Starrett’s young son Joey (Brandon DeWilde) drawn to him for his strength and skill with a gun. Shane himself is uncomfortably drawn to Starrett’s wholesomely charming wife, Marian (Jean Arthur).
As tensions mount between the factions, Ryker hires Jack Wilson (Jack Palance), a skilled gunslinger. After Wilson kills another homesteader (Elisha Cook, Jr.) who stands up to him, Joe Starrett decides to take it on himself to go kill Wilson and Ryker and save the town; however, he is stopped by Shane who insists on going himself. Starrett and Shane fight over who should go on to face Wilson; Shane regretfully uses his gun to hit Joe over the head and knock him out, knowing this was the only way to prevent Joe from getting killed. Shane then goes to take on Wilson in a climactic showdown, killing him and Ryker, but being wounded in the shootout. After urging young Joey to grow up strong and take care of both of his parents, Shane rides away in a random direction.
As Shane rides away, Joey calls after him, “Pa’s got things for you to do! And Mother wants you. I know she does.” Shane slumps forward on his horse, presumably dead from his shootout wounds, but the horse keeps going. The movie closes with Joey shouting “Shane! Come back!” as he watches the horse with Shane on its back disappear into the distance.