In 1875, in Arizona Territory, rancher John Rutherford plans to forcibly evict all squatters from his lands. The rancher welcomes his son Roy who has just returned home from England. He also hires a group of mercenaries to assist him in evicting squatters from his property. These hired goons and cutthroats are paid 500 dollars each. Their foreman is Hook who owes his nickname to the hook that replaced his missing right hand. Rutherford has also brought along his bookkeeper, Mr. Avery, to pay the men. During the Civil War, Mr. Avery avoided the draft, due to his bad health but he proudly wears a Confederate officer's uniform. On Rutherford's lands there is one remaining unfriendly squatter, Corey Everett, who stubbornly refuses to leave. His shack is at the deep end of a boxed canyon. Corey Everett has transformed his shack into a reinforced fortress. He dug a water well near his shack and this can help him outlast any siege, since there is no other source of water for 200 miles around... Written by
One of the more refreshingly different "B" westerns of the 50s. Instead of the usual set up: western town, hero with a past, dubious locals, saloon girl with the heart of gold, we get a bleak, low budget affair with a great over-the-top performance by Dan Duryea as a psychotic frontier bookkeeper. Yes, bookkeeper. But he becomes one of the more memorable villains of the genre. Keenan Wynn gives an equally bizarre but effective performance as Hook, you can take a guess why he's called that. Jeff Richards is a squatter defending his right to develop a piece of land. The cabin is set with its back to a mountain which makes for a claustrophobic setting that is used creatively. Creative is the key word as there are innovative action scenes throughout including Richards, a stranded mother and annoying child, building a medieval looking bomb tosser. This is a fun, fun movie and its unique story, colorful bad guys and noirish feel made it a must see for the western fan.
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