JUBAL stars Glenn Ford as Jubal Troop a wandering cowhand who is rescued from near freezing on a mountain trail by passing rancher Shep Horgan (Ernest Borgnine). The rancher takes him back to his spread where he is taken care of and revived. The next day Horgan offers him a job to the chagrin of another cowhand Pinky (Rod Steiger) who has taken an instant dislike to the stranger and even suspects that he could be a sheepherder ("he stinks of sheep dip"). Trouble really begins when Shep's new wife - the flirtatious May (Valerie French) makes a play for the new cowboy. Jubal - being too fond of and grateful to Shep - will have none of it ("you're the boss's wife" he tells her as he walks away from her). But Pinky's hatred and jealously of Jubal sees him plant the lie in Shep's head that his wife is having an affair with the stranger. A furious Shep unwittingly confronts Jubal with a gun in the saloon ("get up Jube or I'll give it to you where you sit") but with the help of his friend (Charles Bronson) Jubal manages to out shoot Shep but regretfully kills him. Pinky now has the reason to round up a posse and go after Jubal who has taken refuge in a pilgrim's wagon train. The picture ends with Pinky beating up May but before she dies she informs the attending doctor (Robert Burton) that it was Pinky's lie that caused all the trouble and not Jubal.
Performances are generally good throughout! Ford gives his usual dependable portrait of a likable western hero. Borgnine is good too in a big co-starring role after his Acadamy Award winning performance in "Marty" (1955) and Valeria French is excellent as the alluring and flirty wife. Wasted though is Felicia Farr making her debut in a syrupy and poorly written role as a pilgrim girl who takes a shine to Jubal. (She made up for it the following year when she and Ford were the brief bar-room lovers in Daves' brilliant "3 Ten To Yuma"). But the acting honours in JUBAL has to go to Rod Steiger as the mean-spirited and contemptible Pinky despite the actor's ill-advised use of a dubious southern accent. Others in the cast are likable bit players such as John Dierkes, Noah Beery Jr. and Basil Ruysdael. And holding the whole thing together nicely is the splendid music score by David Raksin. There is an infectious and jaunty main theme heard first over the titles and carried through for the early scenes. Then there is some exciting cues for the chase sequences and tender music plays under the picture's softer moments. The music from JUBAL is one of the composer's better scores.
JUBAL is a fine memorable western and a splendid addition to the great classics of the fifties.