Murphy deserts the Union Army to warn former Texas neighbors of impending Indian attacks triggered by Army massacre. He overcomes initial distrust and convinces the homesteaders (all women ... See full summary »
Charming tale of mountaineer-trapper Murphy's first taste "big city" life with young, sweet Sandra Dee in tow. She flees her family, which tried to trade her for some of Murphy's beaver ... See full summary »
Remake of "To Have and Have Not" based on Hemingway short story. Plot reset to early days of Cuban revolution. A charter boat skipper gets entangled in gunrunning scheme to get money to pay... See full summary »
Carl Beldon has disappeared and the Trail Blazers have been sent to investigate. Arriving in town, they find that 'Honest John' controls everything. He even prints his own money. He also ... See full summary »
Robert Emmett Tansey
When Clay Santell stops in the town of Sutterville after having his horse stolen, he is mistaken by townspeople for a murderer named Travers. The townspeople capture Santell, and turn him ... See full summary »
Ring Hassard and father Jeff, wild horse breakers, live in a hidden mountain eyrie because Jeff is wanted for a murder he didn't commit. But things change when they take in a lost young ... 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 »
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 »
Crown City, Colorado, may become a ghost town; the only gold left is in Ute Indian land. Gary Brannon, an honest man who hates Indians, joins a mission to try for mining concessions; but crooked Frank Walker, more realistically, plans to start an Indian war. Gary and his wiser father Sam have their hands full keeping the peace, and Walker has lots more schemes up his sleeve. More plot twists than the average Western. Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
Audie Murphy helps the Ute Indians in solid little western
Among the two dozen or so westerns Audie Murphy made for Universal Pictures from 1950-1966, DRUMS ACROSS THE RIVER (1954) is one of the better ones, featuring a gold miners-vs.-Indians plot with Audie caught firmly in the middle. It's fast-paced, full of action, and features a host of lively character actors, including some great villains.
Audie plays a wagon freighter in a Colorado mining town who is, initially, a witting pawn in a plot by a group of Denver mine bosses to stir up trouble with the local Ute Indians in order to get gold concessions on their land. Audie's dad, Sam (Walter Brennan), is a friend of the Indians and, following a shootout with the Utes in which Sam is wounded, Audie meets with the Ute chief (Morris Ankrum) and his son Taos (Jay Silverheels) and negotiates a temporary peace. Unfortunately, the hired guns working for the mine bosses continue to stir things up and force Audie to aid in a stage robbery by abducting his dad and threatening to kill him. When Audie is charged with murder after the robbery, he has to keep quiet to insure Sam's safety. In the final stretch of the movie, Audie has to break free, save his dad, subdue the bad guys, clear himself and avert a battle between Indians and cavalry. The whole story is told in 78 compact minutes.
Unassuming war hero-turned-western star Murphy was at his best in parts like this, playing an ordinary westerner caught up in a tumultuous situation and having to fight his way out and summon up the moral courage to do the right thing. He always looked best when he faced down truly formidable bad guys and here he faces one of the best western villains of the 1950s. Lyle Bettger, who had one of the most sinister smiles in movie history, specialized in corrupt western capitalists (ranchers, miners, saloon owners, railroad men) who could be utterly smooth and charming one minute and murderously evil the next. Here he's the miners' lead troublemaker and is joined by a great rogues' gallery made up of future TV star Hugh O'Brian as the black-clad Morgan, who also smiles a lot, and a quartet of thugs played by frequent heavies James Anderson, George Wallace, Lane Bradford and former B-western star Bob Steele. In addition, there's Mara Corday as a voluptuous (and very attractive) saloon girl who does some of Bettger's dirty work.
Walter Brennan is very good in a rare turn as an upright authority figure and father. Jay Silverheels plays a sympathetic Indian and leads a band of Utes who appear to be played predominantly by actual Indians rather than the usual painted-up white extras. The Technicolor film was shot partly on the Universal backlot with some fine location work at key California western sites, including one dramatic desert spot representing the Indians' sacred burial ground. This was director Nathan Juran's third film with Murphy.
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