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Jim Davis is a man on the run. He comes across the body of a dead man wearing the badge of a marshal. He buries the body and takes the badge and rides on. At the next town, he is mistaken for the dead man, a legendary marshal named Brennan. The town sent for Marshal Brennan because they were facing a crisis that includes among other things an epidemic. The Stranger decides to stay as a way of hiding from the men chasing him. What he does not realize is that when he takes on the Badge of Marshal Brennan, he takes on the responsibilities of Marshal Brennan. Written by
The Badge of Marshall Brennan is an extremely SLOW moving western from 1957. The basic premise is fine. A rather tame outlaw named Jeff Harlan (Jim Davis) helps the title character (Douglas Fowley) - who was wounded by hostile Indians out in the desert. When Marshall Brennan dies Jeff takes his badge, their last conversation had been about Jeff's childhood dream of being a lawman.
In the nearest town a conflict is starting between the doctor (Harry Lauter) and a rich cattleman and his son Shan (an extremely young Lee Van Cleef-already playing a bad guy). The doctor suspects the cattle are infected with Black Spot Fever and that it is being transmitted to the people in the town.
There will soon be a love triangle with Jeff and the good doctor vying for the attentions of a redheaded café owner named Murdock (Arleen Whelan-still extremely pretty at age 40). Marty Robbins (soon to be a county music star) plays a Mexican with blonde hair and a very bad "Cisco Kid" accent.
The problem is that the story elements are enough for a 40-50 minute television show, not a 74-minute feature film. So there are expanded establishing shots and considerable chatter, not in the service of the plot but as a way to pad the running length. Making this the type of film that is best watched while doing your homework or reading a book; it is hard to give the thing more than 30% of your focus.
Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.
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