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Jim Redfern dreams of owning his own cattle ranch and along with his partners Mike Evans and Ling heads off on the Cariboo Trail into the interior of British Columbia. There's a gold rush on and along the way they're joined by old-timer Grizzly Winters, a prospector who hasn't had much luck of late. They soon come up against Frank Walsh whose men stampede their cattle. Evans is severely injured forcing Redfern to amputate his left arm. Evans hates him for that and will have nothing to do with him or his dream of the cattle ranch. Walsh owns the local town making it difficult for Redfern to get re-established. Things begin to go his way when he finds gold. Written by
Movie is fair to middlin', photography is bad to awful
I won't bother to summarize the plot, as all of the previous reviewers have done so and there's nothing new I can add. As others have noted, this is not one of Scott's best films, or even one of his better ones. Director Edwin L. Marin has done some good westerns in the past--John Wayne's "Tall in the Saddle" comes to mind--but he doesn't seem to have had his heart in this one. Direction is perfunctory, performances are nothing special--although Bill Wiliams as a bitter one-armed cowboy has some good moments--and the action scenes are routine and not particularly well done. The worst thing about the film, however, is the photography. For some reason producer Nat Holt, who had done many of Scott's previous westerns, saw fit to use the cheap, crappy Cinecolor process for this film instead of the much superior Technicolor or Deluxe or even the chintzy Eastman Color, which would still have come out better than Cinecolor. The colors are muddy, everything is way too dark--even the day shots--actors' faces seem to fade into the background, and the major action setpiece takes place at night and the colors are so dark and muddy that, while the battle is certainly noisy, you can barely see anything.
All in all this is a decidedly below-average Scott western. The lousy photography definitely detracts from the film, but it didn't really have anything going for it in the first place.
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