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Remade in 1956 as Canyon River starring George Montgomery, this film has Wyoming rancher Jim Kirk (Bill Elliott) deciding to cross-breed his Texas longhorns with Herefords to develop what he hopes will be a heavier breed for meat stock. En route to Oregon to buy the Herefords, he takes his supposed-friend Andy (Myron Healey) with him, not knowing that Andy is part of a gang out to rob him. They are attacked by Indians, Jim saves the wounded-Andy's life, and leaves him at the home of Gail Robinson (Phyllis Coates) and her dad (I. Stanford Jolley) for medical attention. Jim buys the stock and and is on the homeward trek to Wyoming, accompanied by the still-plotting Andy, Gail and her father, and a crew of outlaws as his trail herders. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When The Longhorn was remade as Canyon River a few years later by Allied Artists I remarked that Peter Graves came across as too nice to be a villain, at least one we know from the beginning unlike Stalag 17. With Myron Healey in the same part that was not an issue.
The film opens with Bill Elliott escaping robbers and meeting his friend Healey. He doesn't know that Healey is in league with the robbers on it. He reveals to Healey it would have not done them any good as it was a large cashier's check. Smart man.
In any event Elliott has a scheme to buy Hertford cattle being raised in Oregon and cross breed them with his stock in Wyoming. Healey persuades the robbers to wait until they're back from Oregon and grab the cattle.
A lot happens between then and the climax among them Phyllis Coates from whom Elliott buys his cattle and Healey becomes most conflicted. If you've seen Canyon River which starred George Montgomery you know how this came out.
The better cast Healey gives The Longhorn a notch above Canyon River in ratings. Elliott is as always a stalwart cowboy hero. But his westerns at Republic were generally better quality even some of them reaching A status like John Wayne's films. Here Wild Bill is back to routine programmers, good but routine.
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