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A cattle-vs.-sheepman feud loses Connie Dickason her fiance, but gains her his ranch, which she determines to run alone in opposition to Frank Ivey, "boss" of the valley, whom her father Ben wanted her to marry. She hires recovering alcoholic Dave Nash as foreman and a crew of Ivey's enemies. Ivey fights back with violence and destruction, but Dave is determined to counter him legally... a feeling not shared by his associates. Connie's boast that, as a woman, she doesn't need guns proves justified, but plenty of gunplay results. Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I first saw this curious western many years ago, at the time I found it rather boring. After reading several other reviews on IMDb, knew it was time to re-evaluate. Pleased I did, this time seeing a totally different show (well at least by now, I was seeing things through different eyes)
It still seems odd that it opens in the mist of a story situation that has not been established. Only the ensuing dialog sets you up with what's happened before the opening scene. This gives the film the look and feel of a finished work that may have endured post production edits for over-length. While I can't confirm if this was the case, it could still have been the intention of the film makers to do something different. In fact, the whole approach to this film is different. Here is a work that credits the audience with the ability to think --to read between the lines--
The pace is slower than normal, another sign the producers may want the audience to study each situation. For the patient, mature viewer this should pay entertaining dividends. As the first feature to come from John Garfield's independent Enterprise production company it's a worthy effort. The cast seem as if they all want this to be a success, even bit players work enthusiastically.
Many of the main leads are playing out of their established roles. Charlie Ruggles and Don De Fore do well with their mainly dramatic characters and Veronica Lake (under direction from her husband) is surprisingly ruthless (don't think I was ready for any of this first time round) Interesting Director, Andre' De Toth and his remarkable Director of Photography: Russel Harlan (who's worked on such a vast range of varied topics) create several mesmerizing 'story without words' type situations throughout. Joel McCrea is marvellous to watch, as one of the most believable righteous men to grace the screen (no doubt about it, the world needs more).
Luke Short (real name Frederick Glidden) creates realistic characters and gives them situations to match. It's a tad brutal, and not a western for everyone, but it's well worth staying with ~ you may end up being entertained. The Olive DVD release is not bad, while not a full re-mastering, the sound and B/W imagery are crisp (although the night scenes have some fluctuations.) Like me, you may need a second time round.
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