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A deputy marshal is ordered to investigate the killing of a Mexican ranch hand by a fellow deputy, who claims self-defense. Using turn of the century forensic science and dogged determination, the deputy breaks down his partner's alibi and discovers that the lawman had killed the rancher for eight thousand dollars in gold that had been hidden in the Mexican's home. Now he must arrest his friend before the Mexican's gunslinging friends can kill him before he's tried for the crime. Written by
Every now and then TCM runs these obscure films that turn out to be real finds. The Broken Star, a black and white B western, certainly is a find with Howard Duff as a deputy sheriff gone bad.
Right up front we see Howard Duff shoot down an unarmed man and steal something from his house. It's $8000.00 in gold, but unfortunately Duff has left a witness, an old Apache who works for the deceased.
Under cover of the badge, Duff tells his story that he shot a suspected rustler who drew on him first. Neither believing or disbelieving him, Sheriff Addison Richards investigates, in much the same manner a shooting team from a modern police force does. It's then up to another deputy, Bill Williams to bring in his colleague who also is someone who saved his life once.
The film is set in the beginning of the 20th century when the old wild west was becoming somewhat tame. Early forensic science is what sets people's suspicions on Duff in the first place.
The Broken Star is a good B western with an adult plot befitting the Fifties, the era of the adult western. Make sure you catch it when next broadcast.
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