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When the anxiously awaited posse returns with neither prisoners nor the stolen money, we learn in flashback what happened. Having been cheated by Sampson Drune, a father and his two sons have robbed him and fled. A posse led by Drune took off after them and although unwanted, the town's drunken Sheriff joined them. The Sheriff's influence on Jeb, the adopted son of Drune, was the key to Jed later revealing who killed Drune, the robbers, and what happened to the money. Written by
Maurice VanAuken <email@example.com>
The movie's plot-heavy but interesting. A bedraggled posse rides into town after completing their mission. But their story of what happened is hiding something. Still, they're the town's most respectable men, including the wounded sheriff. So what really happened; we know it's not their official story. Later, we learn the truth by flashback, with some surprises.
Producer Harry Joe Brown shows his continuing fascination with the neolithic Alabama Hills by filming the chase and showdown amid the bare rock slabs. It's staging he would later use in his classic Ranown westerns with Randolph Scott. The wobbly sheriff seems like an odd role for an Oscar winner of only a couple years earlier. But then, the tubby, homely Crawford was not exactly movie star material. His role here, however, is a gutsy one for any former Oscar winner. The looks department goes instead to John Derek in a pivotal role that he unfortunately appears bored with. At the same time, the fetching ingénue Hendrix gets a tacked-on role as relief from all the ugly guys. Too bad that great impersonator of ornery young punks, Skip Homeier, doesn't get more screen time.
All in all, there's enough plot and interesting characters to merit a longer runtime. Then too, it's well enough produced to also merit Technicolor instead of b&w. Nonetheless, the movie's a non- formula western, more interesting than most, with lots of compelling scenery, pretty good action-- especially around the rock slabsand a fine cast. So horse opera fans should enjoy it, despite the sometimes clotted storyline.
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