Squeezed between Mexico and the Denbow family lands lies the U.S. government free grazing land but the incoming settlers cannot reach it without trespassing on the Denbow property which is defended by an army of Denbow cowhands.
Fugitive bank robber Joe Maybe steals the identity of a marshal and rides into a town whose judge asks Joe to act as town marshal but an old flame almost betrays his real identity forcing Joe to claim she's his wife.
Virgil Renchler owns most of the town providing a thriving economy. When his men go too far and kill one of his migrant workmen, the sheriff goes after him even if it means his job and everyone else's.
The Denbow family hope to freeze out homesteaders by denying access across their land; but to evade a murder charge, Glenn Denbow marries the only witness, Jane, who's conveniently in love with him, but favors the settlers. When Glenn goes back to his blackmailing old flame Lottie, a warm regard develops between Jane and cousin Kirk Denbow. Things come to a head when an impending range war coincides with a rustling foray. Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
A tyrannical rancher and his two sons defend their huge ranch spread against encroaching homesteaders.
Pretty good western, with Cotten and Brady fitting easily into their roles. I like the way the movie starts since the characters are too ambiguous to tell how the story will end. Most westerns, on the other hand, are all-too predictable in that respect. However, as the movie progresses battling sides begin to form and the outcome becomes more predictable.
The producers do a good job making the scale of the film-- with its cattle drive and wide open spaces-- appear bigger than it is. I suspect from some locations that the production actually never left the greater LA area. Also, I really like Brady as the headstrong Glenn; he injects real energy into the part. Of course, Shelley Winters is Shelley Winters. She makes a good floozie, but a not so good ranch lady. Still, it's a fine supporting cast, Van Cleef in an early bad guy role, plus Fess Parker doing a walk-on. But check out the luscious Suzan Ball as Lottie. Her brief life was indeed a tragic one.
Universal turned out a number of Technicolor oaters during this period. I imagine the westerns were upgraded to color in order to compete with early TV. They were usually done cheaply but smartly, and this, all in all, is one of the better ones.
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