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If it takes the rest of my life I'll get every murdering one of them.
Riders of Vengeance (released theatrically as The Raiders) is directed by Lesley Selander and written by Polly James and Lillie Hayward. It stars Richard Conte, Viveca Lindfors, Richard Martin, William Bishop, Barbara Britton, Morris Ankrum, Palmer Lee and Hugh O'Brian. It's a Technicolor production with music by Joseph Gershenson and photography by Carl Guthrie. Plot is based in 1849 California during the Gold Rush and finds Conte as rancher Jan Morrell who is on a mission of vengeance for the claim-jumpers who stole his claim and murdered his wife.
"1849, the year in which the name John Sutter was heard around the World. Gold was the magic word that sent hundreds, then thousands of men swarming into the vast territory of California. The lust for Gold soon became a raging fever that brought death to conscience and honour. Fear and violence spread throughout the land. Those who tried to enforce the law were destroyed, as were the innocent, the courts were powerless to keep order and the guilty went unpunished. Mob rule reigned and the times were ripe for those who would control at any cost."
Colourful B Western that looks to be under seen and certainly forgotten. Not offering up anything out of the ordinary in terms of plot and structure, film is however directed smoothly and acted accordingly by all the cast. Dialogue is well scripted by the two ladies who brought us Quantrill's Raiders and Blood on the Moon, with the down time moments serving to enhance rather than hinder the narrative. Action is well constructed by Selander, with gun play and skirmishes lifting the pace, while there's a cracking scene as a herd of horses are led over a hill. Guthrie's (Fort Massacre/Gunfight at Dodge City) photography is most appealing in the capture of the landscapes, though sadly the location for the shoot is not known at the time of writing. And Gershenson (Backlash/Man Without a Star) scores it with standard blood and thunder Oater strains.
Recommended with confidence to the B Western fan. 7/10
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