Cowboy Ross McEwen arrives in town. He asks the banker for a loan of $2000. When the banker asks about securing a loan that large, McEwen shows him his six-gun collateral. The banker hands ... See full summary »
Blaise Starrett is a rancher at odds with homesteaders when outlaws hold up the small town. The outlaws are held in check only by their notorious leader, but he is diagnosed with a fatal wound and the town is a powder keg waiting to blow.
Ned Bannon comes across rustlers and is shot and left for dead, but is found in time by a wagon train heading for California. When he recovers he becomes suspicious of the two outsiders who... See full summary »
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 <email@example.com>
Contrary to previous reviews of Ramrod, de Toth's film is much more interesting than a "simple cattle vs. sheep" plot-driven western. Just look at Lake's Connie Dickinson. This is a typical femme fatale archetype taken straight from film noir (realistically, the character derives from hard-boiled pulp literature which Luke Short fused with his western story).
Sexually alluring Connie uses her potent sway over men to achieve her greedy ambitions of wealth and power, and is unafraid to send men to their deaths for her cause. Connie's strength of character is atypical of the western genre at this stage, and her strength seems to come from the relative weakness of the film's hero, played by Joel McCrea; who seems to lack the strong sense of moral certainty that the typical westerner was founded upon.
Along with Raoul Walsh's Pursued (1947), and Robert Wise's Blood on the Moon (1948), Ramrod stands as one of the few hybrids between film noir and the western. Regardless of your standpoint on the status of film noir, all of these films contain typical elements from the pessimistic noirs of the 40's and 50's, particularly formal and stylistic devices, as well as recurring personnel, especially directors, stars (ie. Robert Mitchum), and cinematographers. Crucially though, the western genre before this stage was a particularly optimistic one; look at Stagecoach (John Ford, 1939), Dodge City (Michael Curtiz, 1939), or even My Darling Clementine (Ford again, 1946); the three films I mentioned beforehand, including Ramrod, all offer instances of pessimistic worldviews, and morally ambiguous characters and situations, even though they all end with the hero getting the girl and riding into a westward sunset.
37 of 46 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?