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A young widower named Sam Crockett returns from Kansas City to his small hometown in rural Texas, bringing with him his feisty grandfather and two young sons, Steve and Yoyo. He tries to make a go of the old family homestead but faces financial problems and pressures from his well-to-do neighbor, Rod Marshall. He also begins an on-again-off-again romance with Rod's sister-in-law, even though she's engaged to wed the town's doctor. Events come to head when Sam's grandfather suffers a stroke. Written by
dinky-4 of Minneapolis
It's ironic that this movie -- one of those brisk, efficient products designed to be shown on a double-bill -- features three future stars of TV westerns: Dale Robertson of "Wells Fargo" and "The Iron Horse," Richard Boone of "Have Gun Will Travel," and Robert Horton of "Wagon Train." After all, it's TV series such as these which put an end to movies such as "The Return of the Texan."
As an example of its soon-to-be-extinct genre, this movie exhibits the expected strengths and weaknesses. On one hand it tells its story in an economical 88 minutes so it avoids needless padding and slow pacing. On the other hand its plot and characters, though pleasant enough, have a bland, predictable quality. And while the use of b&w photography gives the movie a certain nostalgic tone, it also limits the visual appeal of all those Texas vistas.
Dale Robertson makes an appealing hero, holding back on his usual twinkle-in-the-eye heartiness, and he looks mighty good with his shirt off when he's sweating under the hot sun while putting up a fence. (There's such an innocent quality about early 1950's "beefcake.") Joanne Dru is one of those women who comes off even better in jeans than she does in a wedding dress. Rounding out the cast are veteran actors Walter Brennan and Tom Tully.
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