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Fred F. Sears
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In the lawless Oregon country of 1842, local magnate Gerald Montgomery decrees that any unattached woman belongs to the first taker. Dan Kirby is lynched, starting a stampede to claim his half-Indian wife Paca. Trouble starts with the local tribe, but worse is in store when Dan's tough brother Tex rides in. The zeal of Montgomery's men to protect him from Tex is tempered by their lust for Hannah, who'd be his widow. Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I read the reviews here and wonder if anyone has a different interpretation. This movie is about the dark side of human nature where everyone is for themselves. I'm not sure if that message will catch but it will in another light if you consider more recent films such as the Dark Knight movies or the Man With No Name trilogy. In many movies, there are no real heroes. So even the women in this movie don't have emotional reaction when something tragic happens to a close person. The hero Tex Kirby comes back for revenge of his brother, or is it? Paca who loses her husband finds an cold unexpected way to get revenge. The Indian maids who leave Hannah (Yvonne De Carlo) and the ranch are neutral characters but still, they do what's best in their interest. So at the end, it is easy for Hannah to have no love lost and be willing to leave with the hero.
The wild west was an arena where you had to watch your back. The setting was a wild 1842 Oregon where there are no rules. It was lawless and you defended yourself. Even those you think you can trust, can you really trust them? The rancher who makes the rules, Gerald Montgomery makes very harsh rules. Take a woman like she is property if she has no husband. One evil character shoots his father in the back. No one cries in this movie. Violence, lawlessness and war dull the emotions. We know that where even young children exposed to war get emotionally insensitive to death. It is unusually violent for a movie in the mid-50s depicting rape, murder (of relatives), treachery and lawlessness. It seems really that the Yakima Indians are the only ones with a code, law or ethics.
A question is what degrees of evil and selfishness are there?
If you watch the movie with this in mind, you can see the message. But most people won't see it that way, but will get confused by the mindless violence and unemotional characters. In this way, it's an unusual minor masterpiece.
The evil characters are definitely fun. Overall, supporting roles are well-acted but the leads are very average. The script does not lead to a clearer message and a viewer could get lost in its meaninglessness. Other than the message and supporting actors, the movie is fairly average. So an average rating might be 5-6 for me, but the supporting actors and dark message are fascinating and bump it to a 7 even 7.5. If you don't understand it, it's a 5 or 6.
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