The only white survivor of a Crow Indian raid on a wagon train is a young boy. He is rescued by the Sioux, and the Sioux chief raises him as an Indian in very way. Years later, the white ... See full summary »
In Tomahawk, the crooked Jackman brothers control the town, Sheriff Dunham is up for re-election, the sheep growers are banned in town and a stagecoach line undercover investigator arrives to catch the gang that regularly robs the stages.
Ring Hassard and father Jeff, wild horse breakers, live in a hidden mountain eyrie because Jeff is wanted for a murder he didn't commit. But things change when they take in a lost young ... See full summary »
It's just after the Civil War and Ben Shelby arrives looking for Johnny Tallon whom he plans to kill. Shelby was the only survivor of a battle due to the cowardice of Tallon. Thinking Tallon dead, another man who lost a brother at the same battle arrives to kill Tallon's blind brother. Tallon arrives to find Shelby and his brother fleeing. Then they are attacked by Indians and Shelby and Tallon must now fight together postponing the inevitable showdown. Written by
Maurice VanAuken <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The first half is a fine slice of emotional clarity, that stubborn homestead squatting like a tiny island on an ocean of redrock. The movie itself turns on Peter Graves's sightless Ned. If he's not likably appealing, then the plot doesn't work. But fortunately Graves hits the right notes without being maudlin, so we understand why others would sacrifice to help him. And when Ben (Johnson) finally turns around to help, we know there's more to family than blood kin.
I wish the second half were as streamlined and inventive. But instead, it falls back on a series of clichés. What purpose, for example, is that gunning down of Parker's men except to show how fast Johnny (Clark) is. Then there's the badly clichéd Indian attack. Sure, it's panoramic and I assume that was the real purpose. However, the attack is unimaginatively staged as though the circling Redmen have no other desire than to give the Whites some live target practice. It's like they have no military sense at all. And instead of the stereotypical good- hearted hooker, why not pair the sightless Ned with a homely girl. For glamour obsessed Hollywood that would have been a real departure. In a lesser Western, such shopworn episodes are expected. But for a movie that starts off so well, these are clichés pulling events down to the merely routine.
Nonetheless, the acting is first-rate, and I especially like George Cleveland's grizzled old Uncle Charlie. The chemistry between Ned and Ben and him is simply superb, and when he collapses in the doorway, there's a genuine sense of loss unusual for any Western. Then too, was there ever a better cowboy than the under-stated Ben Johnson with his authentic western twang. His gradual reconciliation with Johnny is both compelling and believable. I'm only sorry that this story of family parts finally fitting together just misses being a real sleeper.
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