When transplanted Texan Bob Seton arrives in Lawrence, Kansas he finds much to like about the place, especially Mary McCloud, daughter of the local banker. Politics is in the air however. ... See full summary »
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When transplanted Texan Bob Seton arrives in Lawrence, Kansas he finds much to like about the place, especially Mary McCloud, daughter of the local banker. Politics is in the air however. It's just prior to the civil war and there is already a sharp division in the Territory as to whether it will remain slave-free. When he gets the opportunity to run for marshal, Seton finds himself running against the respected local schoolteacher, William Cantrell. Not is what it seems however. While acting as the upstanding citizen in public, Cantrell is dangerously ambitious and is prepared to do anything to make his mark, and his fortune, on the Territory. When he loses the race for marshal, he forms a group of raiders who run guns into the territory and rob and terrorize settlers throughout the territory. Eventually donning Confederate uniforms, it is left to Seton and the good citizens of Lawrence to face Cantrell and his raiders in one final clash. Written by
The character of Will Cantrell is loosely based on the real life Confederate guerrilla leader William Quantrill. Like Cantrell, Quantrill was born in Ohio, taught school in Lawrence, Kansas, became a guerrilla fighter on the Confederate side and burned Lawrence to the ground. However, the Confederacy eventually distanced itself from him and later revoked his commission and disowned him, because of his band's propensity for executing prisoners, massacring civilians, looting and raping. The real Quantrill died at the ripe old age of 27--not at the hands of "Bob Seton" but during an ambush by a Union cavalry unit, in which a Union cavalryman caught up to a fleeing Quantrill, whipped out his saber and cut off Quantrill's head. See more »
Throughout the film, Colt Single Action Army revolvers (commonly known as Peacemakers) are used by various actors including John Wayne, Roy Rogers, and George 'Gabby' Hayes. This revolver was not produced until the 1870s. The film is set in the late 1850s and 1860s. See more »
[she holds a rifle on her son, William, to prevent him from going upstairs after his wife]
Say, what's the matter with you? What's that gun for?
It's for you, Will. I thought I'd borned a man-child when I first hear'd you squallin'. But I didn't. I borned a dirty murderin' snake that's broke my heart to see it crawlin' along. You're no good, Will.
I've killed a lot of men for saying less than that.
You've killed a lot of men for sayin' nuthin' at all! Kansas is red with their bleedin'. I curse ...
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I have always liked westerns and this is a great one. Older westerns were closer in time to the events portrayed and even where the production values were not as stunning as those evident in newer film, these older westerns often brought an understanding of the people and the circumstances that is not the same thing as historical accuracy. It may have a character use the wrong kind of gun or an event portrayed may have ended differently but, as to the important things, older westerns get it right and that includes the nature of the people and the cadence of their lives. This is a wonderful movie and a portrayal of the mid-nineteenth century American that resonates even now. The older I get the more I enjoy and appreciate John Wayne's film persona. Whatever his real life behavior,the character he consistently portrayed was the kind of man who did build this country and is the kind of man I would have wanted to know and to introduce to my children. By speech and action, he was decent, gallant and manly --all in short supply in current film. This is a movie that deserves our time and our respect.
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