Cole Thornton, a gunfighter for hire, joins forces with an old friend, Sheriff J.P. Hara. Together with an old Indian fighter and a gambler, they help a rancher and his family fight a rival rancher that is trying to steal their water.
A simple stagecoach trip is complicated by the fact that Geronimo is on the warpath in the area. The passengers on the coach include a drunken doctor, two women, a bank manager who has taken off with his client's money, and the famous Ringo Kid, among others. Written by
Andrew Hyatt <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"Academy Award Theater" broadcast a 30 minute radio adaptation of the movie on May 4, 1946 with Claire Trevor reprising her film role. See more »
It's understandable that, in 1939, pregnancy was not a subject for movies. However, it's noticeable that Lucy Mallory, who is about to have a baby, wears a tight-waisted dress and shows no sign of being pregnant. See more »
These hills here are full of Apaches. They've burnt every ranch building in sight.
[referring to Indian scout]
He had a brush with them last night. Says they're being stirred up by Geronimo.
Geronimo? How do we know he isn't lying?
No, he's a Cheyenne. They hate Apaches worse than we do.
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A stagecoach sets out across the desert with a load of passengers, looking to catch up with a military unit and drop off the wife of the officer in charge. All the other passengers have their own reasons for getting to the destination, including a vengeful outlaw, a prostitute, a drunken doctor and a cad. However the journey is made incredibly hazardous by the fact that Geronimo is on the warpath in the area they must pass through.
Although I miss seeing the desert landscape in full yellows and blues, this film is one of my favourite westerns and only suffers a little by being in black & while and not really enjoying the visual sweep that later Ford westerns had. The plot is quite simple on one hand - a group battle Indians on their way to a town while some of the characters confront their own battles. However this succeeds because it is more than just a B-movie shoot'em up, it has characters and sub plot.
The characters may be quite broad and the film may well use them like a disaster movie (set them up just enough to care about and then see who gets knocked down) but it does have touches that improve it. Characters are shunned due to their social status, `good' people are revealed to be not so good as they think themselves while `bad' people reveal themselves to have good hearts and the potential for redemption in their lives. While it isn't earth shattering it is well crafted and well written in the context of the traditional western.
Wayne is good and this film allowed him to step up from B-movie westerns to the type of films that made his career. The rest of the cast are also good in their various roles, while the characters are broad they all play it well, especially Trevor, Devine, Mitchell and Carradine.
Overall this is a solid western that has good action (include a great stunt that was lifted directly into Raiders of the Lost Ark) but also has characters and interactions which make for a polished and enjoyable movie.
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