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Running Target (1956)

Approved | | Crime, Romance, Western | 1 November 1956 (USA)
In the Colorado Rockies, Sheriff Scott, heads a posse that is after four escaped convicts, and thought it is his sworn duty to return the men dead or alive, he is, as always, reluctant to ... See full summary »


(original story: "My Brother Down There"), (screenplay) (as Marvin Weinstein) | 2 more credits »


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Complete credited cast:
Richard Reeves ...
James Parnell ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Nicholas Rutgers ...


In the Colorado Rockies, Sheriff Scott, heads a posse that is after four escaped convicts, and thought it is his sworn duty to return the men dead or alive, he is, as always, reluctant to kill his fellow man. He is accompanied by Jaynes, a tavern owner, who takes much delight in his telescopic rifle, and by "Smitty," a gas station owner held up the escapees and more than ready to show she can be as tough as any man, although she seems to have some other motive for getting to the leader of the convicts, Kaygo. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

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Taste the terror . . . Smell the fear . . . Experience the raw, naked panic of a Running Target!


Crime | Romance | Western


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1 November 1956 (USA)  »

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Music by Ernest Gold
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Rockie Mountain high
15 November 2003 | by See all my reviews

*****SPOILERS***** The film starts with an escaped convict gunned down on an open field by a sheriffs posse hot on his tail. It turns out that he was one of four escaped convicts from a local prison and with the others not that far ahead the posse of four men and one woman goes up the treacherous Rockies to capture them.

Right from the start there seems to be a deep resentment against the sharpshooter Jaynes, Richard Reeves, by everyone in the posse led by sheriff Scott, Arthur Franz, for the only reason that I can gather is that Jaynes is good at his job: shooting escaped convicts running away from the law and in many cases being armed and dangerous. The posse that Scott has with him includes a young woman ,Smitty, Doris Dowing. Smitty reasons for being there, besides knowing the area like the back of her hand, is that the leader and most dangerous of the escaped convicts Kaygo, Myron Healey, who's a convicted cop-killer once robbed her gas station and even worse stole her prized rifle.

As the last two out of three convicts are captured by the determined sheriffs posse Kaygo is tracked down into a valley. To the shock of sheriff Scott, who was starting to get very serious with Smitty in the romance department, he sees Smitty wearing a dress, which she secretly took with her, and frolicking with Kaygo! As Scott raises his rifle and aims it at Kaygo we hear a shot from the background and Kaygo fall dead on the ground. The shot came from Jaynes rifle that hit and killed Kaygo before Scott could pull the trigger. The movie ends with Scott angry and outraged taking Jaynes's prized and beloved Weatherbee 300 Magnum rifle, the best friend that a man can have, and smashing it to bits against a rock. Was Scott mad at Jaynes for killing Kaygo before he could have killed him himself? As the movie "Running Target" ends there's a very impressive shot, all in one frame, of the dead and blanket covered Kaygo in the foreground with Jayne in the middle sobbing and yelling at Scott, that he has to buy him a new rifle, with sheriff Scott and Smitty walking, in each other arms, up a hill with the majestic Rockie Mountains in the background.

This has to be one of the strangest movies ever made with a lawman leading a posse to capture four escaped convicts, two of them convicted murderers, acting like he was a defense attorney in a criminal trial! Like a defense attorney Scott is always trying to explain away the vicious actions and behavior of the convicts in defending their actions as if they've been mistreated when they were children. It's as if Scott was blaming everyone else, the police the courts the accused family and friends, for the crimes that the escaped convicts committed!

Smitty was understandable but very foolish, doesn't love make fools of us all, of being right in the open and dancing with Kaygo, her secret love, at the end of the movie. All this within sight of everyone in the posse where they can see that she was helping and abetting an escaped murderer from the law! What other conclusion can one come to? With the only exception of the escaped convicts who acted normal, like convicts, Jaynes who's the most believable and honest person in the movie was made to look like, by the filmmakers, a villain and cold blooded killer?

I just don't know what those who made the film "Running Target" were trying to say other then showing just what great liberals they are! It's in them going overboard in showing their ultra liberal prejudices for convicted and escaped convicts they actually approved the crimes that they had committed!

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