Rod Cameron and John Russell battle over a tungsten mine and Joan Leslie
Luke Short wrote very good western novels and stories, of which "Silver Rock", the basis of "Hell's Outpost" was one. Although set in contemporaneous modern times of 1955, the movie is really a western. Directed by the experienced Joseph Kane for Republic with a cast of veterans, this is a solid story and movie, with a good deal of action.
The traditional western conflict over resources is present here in the form of a rich tungsten mine owned by Chill Wills. But it lacks a road in and out and he lacks capital. The bank and county road commission are controlled by John Russell who wants that mine for peanuts. Rod Cameron arrives and befriends Wills, under some false pretenses. Rod's the hero but by no means perfect and that comes in handy in standing up against Russell's tactics. He tangles with Russell immediately upon arrival and Joan Leslie comes between them too. Russell has a variety of clever schemes to thwart the mine's development that Cameron and Wills, who become partners, will have to overcome if they are to succeed.
Good support from Jim Davis (a newspaperman), his amour Kristine Miller (Russell's half-sister), and Taylor Holmes (Russell's slick lawyer).
"Hell's Outpost" is a solid and satisfying "western" in an updated older style. Modern vehicles and few horses, no big stetsons and bandannas. It's not what you'd call a psychological or adult western. No brooding here, but it's not a six-gun type of story with saloons. either. It's a modern story and setting but it shows the expertise that Republic had in bringing Roy Rogers and Gene Autry forward in time and out of the old west while retaining its conflicts.
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