Former buffalo hunter and entrepreneur Wyatt Earp arrives in the lawless cattle town of Wichita Kansas. His skill as a gun-fighter make him a perfect candidate for Marshal but he refuses ... See full summary »
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Charles Marquis Warren
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Former buffalo hunter and entrepreneur Wyatt Earp arrives in the lawless cattle town of Wichita Kansas. His skill as a gun-fighter make him a perfect candidate for Marshal but he refuses the job until he feels morally obligated to bring law and order to this wild town. Written by
Wyatt Earp cleans up wichita, kansas with young Bat Masteron's help
jacques tourneur, of Cat People fame, might seem an unlikely candidate to helm an above average B+ western. But that was the case in 1955 with Wichita, about the early days of Wyatt Earp. Some liberties with the facts are taken, including the notion that Earp had never worn a badge before he arrived in the Texas cowtown. In fact, Earp was the marshal of Ellsworth, Kansas in 1875 and was wooed away by the larger Wichita - even as Dodge City would then talk him into moving there. Many incidents in this film actually took place in Ellsworth, as the two towns are 'collapsed' into one another. That aside, the film is fine - whether individual things we see happened in one town or the other, the point is that the savvy screenplay conveys a strong understanding of the politics in such a city, and with no simple good guys in white hats or badguys in black ones, we realize that Earp had more problem with greedy townspeople than with outlaws. Bat Masterson (whom he actually knew from buffalo hunting days) becomes a deputy though he really wants to be a newspaperman, and while that had not yet occurred to him, Bat would, after leaving the rest, become a famous sportwriter in New York. One terrific sequence involves the attempt of a corrupt businessman to hire a pair of gunmen to kill Wyatt, though they turn out to be two of his brothers, and this incident really did take place. Joel McCrea makes a sturdy Earp (he later played Bat in gunfight at dodge city), and Keith Larson is fine as the young Bat. Great title song, by the way, by Tex Ritter. As to the upper level of B westerns in the fifties, they really don't get much better than this.
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