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Jim Harvey is hired to guard a small wagon train as it makes its way west. The train is attacked by Indians and Harvey, hoping to persuade Aguila, the chief, to call off the attack due to ... See full summary »
Audie Murphy comes into his own as a Western star in this story. Wrongly accused by crooked railroad officials of aiding a train heist by his old friends the Daltons, he joins their gang ... See full summary »
Audie Murphy is again the kid who puts on a badge to catch the bad guy, skillfully played by Barry Sullivan. On the way back to town the two develop a curiously close relationship - ... See full summary »
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.
Kittridge is hired by the villains but turns to defend the rancher Saxon after learning the true situation. Kittridge wins Saxon's ranch with a cut of the cards but Saxon has other reasons for deliberately losing the gamble. Telford and Lake try everything from bushwhacking to setting a wildfire to stop the Saxon/Kittridge herd of cattle from reaching the railhead. Written by
Carol Johnson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
During the cattle drive, Audie Murphy (Reb) has ridden up ahead, over a ridge, to scout the trail and sees a range fire burning towards the herd. As he races back down the hill to the other riders, his horse slips and almost falls down. He and the horse are able to recover and without missing a beat, Murphy says his lines to the others and the scene goes on. See more »
[After Reb's horse is shot, he hitches a ride on a stagecoach with a pretty, but aloof, passenger]
I ran into a little trouble this morning. I had to leave my horse back up the trail.
If I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, I'd say you still had him with you.
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While certainly in the mold of a "B" western, Gunsmoke manages to raise itself above its peer group. Good production values, an above average supporting cast that appeared to enjoy themselves, an OK plot bolstered by some spirited dialog, and a young Murphy showing he was incorrect in his self-assessment of "no talent."
The plot is pretty much by the numbers: Gambler Telford (Donald Randolph) wants Dan Saxon's (Paul Kelly) ranch and sends for gunslinger Reb Kittridge (Murphy) to arrange an early departure for Saxon from this earth. Due to the luck of the draw, or more probably Saxon's card skills, Kittridge ends up owning said ranch but has to get the cattle to market to maintain possession. Taking to the trail with Saxon, now a cowhand, Saxon's daughter Rita (Susan Cabot), her possessive boyfriend / ranch foreman Curly (Jack Kelly), and the rest of Saxon's old crew, Kittridge must beat both the elements and Telford who doesn't give up just because he's had a setback.
This could have been a B caliber movie but it's better than that. The plot is predictable but pretty much everything else is a step up. Veteran screenwriter D.D. Beauchamp's script has more life than usually found in this type of movie. Saxon "He ain't no killer, Doc." Doc "Well, if he isn't , he's been taking money under false pretenses all the way from Texas to the Canadian line." Later, when Saxon says he's willing to work for Kittridge in the cattle drive, his daughter pounces on him in an epic fail. Rita "You mean you're going to work for him?" Saxon "Well, we gotta eat don't we?" Rita "I'd rather go hungry." Saxon "I've tried that too. I wouldn't recommend it."
Paul Kelly adds immeasurably in his role as a rancher who sees parallels in Kittridge with his own early life and wants to provide a bit of course correction into the gunfighter's life. His timing is great and his easy going drawl a great counterpoint for Murphy. His scenes with Chubby Johnson are also great fun. While certainly a lot is filmed on sets, there are some good outdoor scenes and some nifty wagon riding down a hillside. The only quibble I have is with Susan Cabot. Somehow she doesn't have quite the presence of some other not-quite-A- list actresses of that era such as, say, a young Piper Laurie, but I guess that's a personal taste.
All in all, this is a better oater than most B pictures and shows an inexperienced Murphy could perform quite well when given good direction and surrounded with a good cast to play off of. Give it a try, you won't regret it.
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