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The Arizona wilderness, 1880. Gen. Fletcher Blackwell sends a message telling Capt. Walsh, who is escorting a wagon-train through Apache territory, heading for the fort at Furnace Creek, that he should cancel the escort and rush to another town. Apache leader "Little Dog" is leading the attack on the wagon-train and massacring everyone at the poorly manned fort. As a result the treaty is broken with the Indians and the white settlers take over the territory with the help of the calvary, as the Apaches are wiped out and only "Little Dog" remains at large. Gen. Fletcher Blackwell is court-martial-led for treason. The general's 2 sons, Cash Blackwell and Capt. Rufe Blackwell, each with a different disposition, go about trying to find evidence to clear their father's name. Written by
Fury At Furnace Creek has a most ruthless and cunning villain in control of some recently opened up territory. How Albert Dekker got control has him and his gang fomenting an Indian War with a massacre of a supply train and then an army fort. General Robert Warwick gets the blame for this when Captain Reginald Gardiner testifies at Warwick's court martial that he got an order to leave the wagon train unescorted on a written order from Warwick which disappears. Warwick dies on the stand of his court martial with his name still under a cloud.
However Warwick has two sons one is army captain Glenn Langan who takes a leave of absence to clear his father. The other is Victor Mature who was the black sheep of the family. They both work at clearing their father, sometimes at cross purposes though.
Victor Mature borrows a lot from his portrayal of Doc Holliday in My Darling Clementine in playing the black sheep son. I'm sure that Darryl Zanuck seeing the reviews Mature got for Doc Holiday led Zanuck to cast Mature in the lead of Fury At Furnace Creek.
Albert Dekker who played a slew of villainous parts in the Forties is one shrewd piece of work here. He overreaches however in his villainy. Better to have let the Indians do their own thing, but he's brought Chief Jay Silverheels in on his plans and doublecrosses him. That would turn out to be his downfall.
Providing comic relief as he usually did in films of the Forties is Charles Kemper who plays a boisterous muleskinner who likes to party hearty and regrets it. There's no jail in the town so Kemper is chained to an uprooted tree trunk and carries it around with him. It's a marvelous sight gag without any dialog. I was imagining Andy Griffith doing that with Otis Smith as Mayberry's town drunk.
The relationship of Mature and Langan also borrows a bit from the Warner Brothers classic The Oklahoma Kid with the good and bad brothers working at cross purposes to bring law and order into the territory. It turns out better for these brothers as well.
Fury At Furnace Creek is a good western, for Mature a good followup to his western debut in My Darling Clementine.
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