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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
In Broken Lance, Kansas, John Bonniwell averts the Jesse James gang from holding up the town bank, but is severely wounded in the process. When he awakes in the hospital, he finds that he has been elected town marshall, with high recommendations from the bank owner and leading citizen, Steve Barat. Bonniwell accepts the job (especially after getting an eyeful of the hotel owner Eleanor Sager) even though he knows that he was only appointed to become a pawn in Barat's scheme to bleed Broken Lance, and the Kansas, dry. Bonniwell's position is put to the test when Barat sues Bonniwell's friend Waggoner for running his cattle without paying the $1 a head toll enforced by Barat. When he sees that Bonniwell isn't going to be controlled so easily, Barat has Bonniwell's enemies go after him followed by an attempt by Barat's gambling brother, Jeff (who seems to be playing both sides of the standoff, while in love with Eleanor). Bonniwell then starts to rid Broken Lance of Barat's influence without losing his life, or anyone else's, in the process. Very good western with an excellent script, direction, characterization, and performances by everyone. Dix is right at home as Bonniwell, even though he seems awkward at times. Jory gives one of his best performances as Jeff, and his characterization is very surprising and different from others in the genre. The movie also contains one of the biggest barroom free for alls in any western, with everyone getting into the fracas. Only flaw was the climax was not as action packed as other sequences in the movie, but still a winner all the way. Rating, based on B westerns (this may count as a B+ however), 9.
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