In the years following the Civil War, the town of Abilene, Kansas is poised on the brink of an explosive confrontation. A line has been drawn down the center of the town where the homesteaders and the cattlemen have come to a very uneasy truce. The delicate peace is inadvertantly shattered when a group of new homesteaders lay down their stakes on the cattlemen's side of town, upsetting the delicate balance that had existed thus far and sparking an all-out war between the farmers, who want the land tamed and property lines drawn, and the cowboys, who want the prairies to be open for their cattle to roam. Written by
Jean-Marc Rocher <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Five years after the end of the Civil War, a thousand-mile cattle trail stretched from the plains of Texas to the railroad depots in Kansas. For ninety grueling days, through dust, heat, flies, loneliness, cowboys pushed Texas cattle northward on the Abilene Trail at an average speed of three quarters of a mile an hour toward Abilene, Kansas where raw-bred Southern beef could be turned into hard, Eastern cash. Abilene was the end of the trail, the end of the ...
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Abilene, Kansas is at a critical watershed moment in its history and only town marshal Randolph Scott seems to realize it. That is Scott and a bunch of homesteaders led by Lloyd Bridges. They're the future of the place if they settle there permanently and grow their crops. The homesteader has it over the cowboy. He's raising families for the future, not cain at the end of the trail drive.
In a trend that seemed to start with Destry Rides Again in westerns, Scott has two girls after him in this film. Saloon singer Ann Dvorak and storekeeper's daughter Rhonda Fleming. You figure out who the marshal winds up with.
Abilene Town doesn't lack for anything any western fan could hope for. Lots of gunplay and fist fights and the triangular conflict of cattlemen, townspeople, and homesteaders. And it has a scene stealing performance by Edgar Buchanan as the county sheriff who becomes a hero in spite of his less than honorable ways.
At the time that Abilene Town came out, Abilene, Kansas had one of the most famous people in the world calling it his home town. I don't know how they did it because Howard Hughes didn't own RKO yet, but for the premier of the film in Abilene, Kansas, General Dwight D. Eisenhower showed up himself with Randolph Scott and some of the rest of the cast. A red letter day in the history of RKO studios. To be fair Ike never missed an opportunity to be a booster for the place he grew up in.
Hey if the architect of D-Day gave his seal of approval to this film, how could any of you go wrong in seeing it?
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