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The tranquility of a small town is marred only by sheriff Tod Shaw's unsuccessful courtship of widow Ellen Benson, a pacifist who can't abide guns and those who use them. But violence descends on Ellen's household willy-nilly when the U.S. President passes through town... and slightly psycho hired assassin John Baron finds the Benson home ideal for an ambush. Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
This tense, relatively well-crafted little thriller dispenses with frills or padding, and tells its story in a straightforward way that works pretty well. Once it sets up the story, it maintains the tension carefully enough to make up for some plot holes and one-dimensional characters.
The focus remains almost entirely on the story, and the characters are never developed very deeply. The three main roles are rather well-cast, though, and Frank Sinatra, Sterling Hayden, and James Gleason each deliver what their roles call for.
Although implausible at some points, the story is otherwise well-constructed, and it moves at a good pace. Many film-makers are tempted to inject superfluous material into this kind of story, and this is an example showing that it usually works better to keep it simple. While nothing extraordinary, it works more than well enough to be worth watching.
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