Three outlaw buddies rob a bank, but one of them is wounded. His two partners and his girlfriend take his share of the loot and run off, leaving him to be captured by the sheriff. Years ... See full summary »
Three outlaw buddies rob a bank, but one of them is wounded. His two partners and his girlfriend take his share of the loot and run off, leaving him to be captured by the sheriff. Years later, after he gets out of prison, he goes in search of his double-crossing partners and his faithless girlfriend. He finds them in a semi-deserted, run-down town, but instead of killing them right away, he decides to play cat-and-mouse with them first. Written by
This little B-Western with James Arness in one of his last non-Gunsmoke starring roles seems to have been heretofore almost forgotten, judging by the lack of ratings and reviews here. I recently happened upon it on Netflix and decided to give it a try. While perhaps not deserving of a spot among the great westerns, it surprised me because it was truly quite good and deserves more attention than it's received.
The plot, in short, involves Arness as one of three men who decide to hold up a bank. Arness is injured in the robbery, and subsequently left behind by his compatriots and, reluctantly, by his girl as well (Angie Dickinson, looking radiant in her first billable role). After being caught, convicted, and serving time for his part in the hold-up, he goes seeking his "friends" and his girl, bent on revenge.
The biggest thing that struck me about this little "BATJAC" western was the steady, deliberate pacing of the story and the focus on characters more so than on shoot-em-up, chase-em-down action. There's more tension than action (in fact, one could legitimately call it a suspense film), and I appreciated the refreshing change of pace from most B westerns (or westerns in general, for that matter). Besides, at a slim 74 minutes, it simply can't drag on forever.
This is a very thoughtful western in many respects. Characters are given much more life than you might expect. In particular, we see some interesting interaction between Sheriff Morton (Emile Meyer) and his deputy (Harry Carey, Jr.). The sheriff, who obviously is well past his gunslinging years, handles violence in his town sagely, keeping a close watch on events, while not putting himself in a position where his age would certainly compromise his life or his ability to do his job.
Again, it's not a perfect movie, but I was quite pleasantly surprised, and it's probably one of the best b-westerns I've seen. I recommend it.
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