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Wounded while stopping the James gang from robbing the local bank, a cowboy wakes up in the hospital to find that he's been elected town marshal. He soon comes into conflict with the town banker, who controls everything in town and is squeezing the townspeople for every penny he can get out of them. Written by
The producing/directing team of Harry Sherman and George Archaimbaud who turned out a couple dozen Hopalong Cassidy movies moved away from Hoppy and the Bar 20 to give us The Kansan, an independent film from United Artists. This western stars Richard Dix as the Shane like character who takes a hand in stopping a bank robbery by the notorious James gang. Dix gets good and shot up for his troubles, but while he's on the mend he finds he's been elected town marshal.
Engineering his election is town banker Albert Dekker who has many interests, legal and extralegal and he'd like a gun-hand like Dix as marshal to look after those interests. Dekker has cause for regret as Dix takes the job very seriously. Dix also starts courting Jane Wyatt the local innkeeper.
That doesn't sit well with Victor Jory who is Dekker's brother. But Jory plays a lone hand in life as the film unfolds.
Dix's best years on screen were way behind him when he did The Kansan, but he could and does contribute a solid western characterization and gets solid support from the cast. Eugene Palette as a visiting cattle baron looks a bit lost in the western garb, but he works through it.
Western fans will recognize some distinct plot elements the Cecil B. DeMille classic Union Pacific. If you do you know exactly how The Kansan will end.
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