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Two men with questionable pasts, Glyn McLyntock and his friend Cole, lead a wagon-train load of homesteaders from Missouri to the Oregon territory. They establish a settlement outside of Portland and as winter nears, it is necessary for McLyntock and Cole to rescue and deliver food and supplies being held in Portland by corrupt officials. On the trip back to the settlement, up river and over a mountain, Cole engineers a mutiny to divert the supplies to a gold mining camp for a handsome profit. Written by
Herman Seifer <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Though the film received generally poor reviews, it is noteworthy as marking a turning point in James Stewart's career as he began to play much more violent, cynical and ruthless characters. See more »
The way Cole tries to gouge Glyn's eye changes between shots. See more »
I don't like that man Cole.
I heard Grundy say he was a raider on the Missouri border.
Well, lots of people used to raid along the border.
That kind can't change. When an apple's rotten, there's nothing you can do except throw it away or it will spoil the whole barrel.
Well, there's a difference between men and apples.
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Not my favorite Mann/Stewart western, but pretty good all the same...
The second of five westerns Anthony Mann did with James Stewart, this one involves a trail boss with a shady past named Glyn McLyntock (Stewart) who takes a wagon train of settlers west from the Missouri to Oregon. Along the way, he saves a man named Emerson Cole (Arthur Kennedy) who's about to be hanged by some trappers for stealing a horse. He pulls a rifle on them and tells them to clear out. Cole feels indebted (for now) and hooks up with McLyntock and the wagon train.
Then they run into some Indians and Laura Baile (Julie Adams), the daughter of the trail master (played ably enough by Jay C. Flippen) gets wounded by an arrow. They finally reach Portland and purchase supplies there that will later be sent to them upriver. They also leave Laura in Portland to heal up while Cole stays on to seek his fortune at the gambling tables, running into good-natured Trey Wilson (Rock Hudson) in the process.
When they go upriver and reach the spot they want to settle down in, the settlers start to clear the land before the winter sets. In the meantime the supplies they paid for down in Portland haven't come yet, so they send McLyntock down to see what's happened and to get word from Laura Baile with whom they haven't heard from in months.
It turns out that the seller of the supplies, Tom Hendricks (Howard Petrie) has ripped them off and reneged on the deal. McLyntock, Cole (who goes along for the ride) and Trey Wilson shoot it out with Hendricks' men, and head upriver in the steamboat with the supplies (and Laura Baile) while Hendricks' men are right behind. McLyntock wants the boat to stop downstream in order to throw Hendricks off their trail for a little while, but Hendricks picks up on it and is still doggedly determined to get those supplies back. They ambush Hendricks and his men, killing most of them including Hendricks himself.
There's more double cross and backstabbing going on as we already suspect that Emerson Cole is the low down dirty snake that he really is, and is only concerned about his own greed. Cole knows full well he can get more money for those supplies at the mining camp, so he and his crew overpower McLyntock and take the supplies, leaving McLyntock behind to fend for himself.
But McLyntock trails not far behind on foot and then rides a stray horse that was secretly left behind by Laura so he can catch up. There's the inevitable showdown in the rapids when McLyntock and Cole get into a fistfight and Cole is swept away by the rapids and drowns.
This is an above-average western that has some of the elements we'd later see in THE NAKED SPUR (1953) and THE FAR COUNTRY (1954), both of which I prefer over this one. I guess this is mostly due to the fact that Robert Ryan and John McIntyre make better over-the-top villains than Arthur Kennedy does.
7 out of 10
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