6.6/10
975
17 user 5 critic

Backlash (1956)

Approved | | Mystery, Romance, Western | 11 April 1956 (USA)
Jim Slater seeks a survivor of the Apache ambush his father died in.

Director:

Writers:

(novel), (screenplay)
Reviews
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Certificate: Passed Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

During the Civil War, a group of Confederates escapes from the Union POW camp at Fort Bravo but has to contend with the desert, the Mescalero Indians and the pursuing Union troops.

Director: John Sturges
Stars: William Holden, Eleanor Parker, John Forsythe
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Outlaw Clint Hollister escapes from jail with the help of Marshal Jake Wade, because once Clint did the same for him. Jake left Clint just after, but Clint finds him back and forces Jake to... See full summary »

Director: John Sturges
Stars: Robert Taylor, Richard Widmark, Patricia Owens
Adventure | Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

When a handful of settlers survive an Apache attack on their wagon train they must put their lives into the hands of Comanche Todd, a white man who has lived with the Comanches most of his ... See full summary »

Director: Delmer Daves
Stars: Richard Widmark, Felicia Farr, Susan Kohner
Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A marshal tries to bring the son of an old friend, an autocratic cattle baron, to justice for the rape and murder of his wife.

Director: John Sturges
Stars: Kirk Douglas, Anthony Quinn, Carolyn Jones
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Steve Sinclair is a world a world-weary former gunslinger, now living as a peaceful farmer. Things go wrong when his wild younger brother Tony arrives on the scene with his new bride Joan Blake.

Directors: Robert Parrish, John Sturges
Stars: Robert Taylor, Julie London, John Cassavetes
Never So Few (1959)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

During WW2, the American O.S.S. mounts covert operations against the Japanese army in the jungles of Burma.

Director: John Sturges
Stars: Frank Sinatra, Gina Lollobrigida, Peter Lawford
Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A Confederate Major and his troops are falsely led to believe the Civil War is not over, and become wanted men after they attack a Union Army wagon train in Nevada.

Director: Roy Huggins
Stars: Randolph Scott, Donna Reed, Claude Jarman Jr.
Certificate: Passed Adventure | Thriller | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A group of treasure hunters search for a wagon load of gold, buried years before in Death Valley.

Director: John Sturges
Stars: Randolph Scott, Ella Raines, William Bishop
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

When hired killer John Gant rides into Lordsburg, the town's folk become paranoid as each leading citizen has enemies capable of using the services of a professional killer for personal revenge.

Director: Jack Arnold
Stars: Audie Murphy, Charles Drake, Joan Evans
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

When a notorious tough 'town tamer' is hired by the citizenry to rid of the gunmen driving them off their land, he finds the local saloon madam to be an old friend.

Director: Richard Wilson
Stars: Robert Mitchum, Jan Sterling, Karen Sharpe
Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

In Tomahawk, the crooked Jackman brothers control the town, Sheriff Dunham is up for re-election, the sheep growers are banned in town and a stagecoach line undercover investigator arrives to catch the gang that regularly robs the stages.

Director: Jack Arnold
Stars: Lex Barker, Mara Corday, Stephen McNally
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A scout leading a wagon train through hostile Indian country unwittingly gets involved with a Sioux chief's daughter.

Director: André De Toth
Stars: Kirk Douglas, Elsa Martinelli, Walter Matthau
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Jim Slater
...
Karyl Orton
...
Johnny Cool
...
Jim Bonniwell
...
Sgt. George Lake
...
Tony Welker
...
Jeff Welker
...
Mike Benton
...
Maj. Carson
...
Sheriff J.C. Marson (as Edward C. Platt)
...
Sheriff John F. Olson
...
Deputy Sheriff Dobbs
...
Sleepy
...
Ned McCloud
Frank Chase ...
Cassidy, Shotgun Rider
Edit

Storyline

Jim Slater's father (whom he never knew) died in the Apache ambush at Gila Valley, and Jim is searching for the one survivor, who supposedly went for help but disappeared with a lot of gold. In the process, he gets several people gunning for him, and he keeps meeting liberated woman Karyl Orton, who may be on a similar mission. Renewed Apache hostilities and an impending range war provide complications. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

PAST APACHE AMBUSH...PAST TREACHERY'S SILKEN NET!...Five Dead Men Led Jim Slater Down a Trail of No Return! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

11 April 1956 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Padre contra hijo  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,025,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.00 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Director John Sturges hired several hundred Papago Native Americans to play Indians in this film. See more »

Goofs

Karyl Orton's underwear is appropriate for the 1950s, but not the nineteenth century See more »

Quotes

Jim Slater: Oh no, not again! You know, a man can get awful tired of bein' shot at.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Tough guys to spare in western with oedipal overtones
7 November 2002 | by (Bronx, NY) – See all my reviews

Given the pedigree of its makers--director John Sturges, producer Aaron Rosenberg, screenwriter Borden Chase and novelist Frank Gruber--one would have expected BACKLASH to be a bit grander in scale and offer more memorable action scenes. Instead, it's a more intimate tale, executed like a crime drama with the emphasis on investigation and unfolding of secrets. Richard Widmark plays Jim Slater, a Texan looking to uncover information about his father's death, particularly the identity of the man who left his father and four other men to die at the hands of an Apache war party in a remote place called Gila Valley. The missing sixth man left with $60,000 in gold, ostensibly from a mine, which means that relatives of the other dead men, including a pretty widow and the notorious Welker brothers, are gunning for the same man, but with an eye towards retrieving the gold. Eventually, Slater finds his man, only to learn a shocking secret he wasn't prepared for, propelling the drama to a whole new stage and a violent confrontation with oedipal overtones.

Much of the film is spent simply tracking down people who may or may not have known the dead men or the elusive sixth man. The final section, where all the questions are answered and all the unresolved familial issues addressed, is the most exciting part of the film and well worth the buildup. Ultimately, however, it's still essentially a contrived Hollywood melodrama punched up with expert scenes of violence. As such, it pales next to other works by the same creators, most notably the trio of Anthony Mann-directed westerns produced by Rosenberg and written by Chase, WINCHESTER '73, BEND OF THE RIVER and THE FAR COUNTRY, which placed their heroes in far more complex moral dilemmas.

Nonetheless, BACKLASH is blessed with a great cast of tough guys acting hard and drawing guns at the drop of a chair. William Campbell practically steals the show as hotshot young fast-draw Johnny Cool, looking sharp in a black hat, waist-length black leather jacket and red neckscarf. Harry Morgan and Robert J. Wilke, old hands at this kind of thing, play the ill-fated Welker brothers who have a propensity for forcing the widow, played by Donna Reed, to sit down and have whiskey with them. Onetime gangster heavy Barton MacLane appears in a sympathetic role as a grizzled army sergeant whom Widmark seeks information from and winds up assisting in a fight with Apaches. Roy Roberts turns up as a powerful rancher seeking to wage a defensive range war against the mysterious Frank Bonniwell who turned up out of the blue with $60,000 to buy up land and equipment only to start rustling other ranchers' cattle. John McIntire plays Bonniwell, adding to the actor's rogues' gallery of memorable bad guys (see also WINCHESTER '73 and THE FAR COUNTRY). Donna Reed is quite good as the opportunistic widow who can't quite determine if she's more loyal to Slater or the gold.

Trivia Note: William Campbell's character name, Johnny Cool, was the name of a 1963 crime thriller starring Henry Silva as the title character. Silva had earlier appeared in another tough 1950s western, THE TALL T (1957), in which Skip Homeier played an outlaw character named Billy Jack, which was later the name of a 1971 counterculture hit starring Tom Laughlin.


22 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?