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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
Country&Western performers Carl Smith and Marty Robbins are featured in this fine no frills western from Allied Artists. The Badge Of Marshal Brennan really could have used a nice A budget from a big studio and some name stars. As it is Jim Davis, Arleen Whelan, and Lee Van Cleef do just fine in their parts. I could have James Stewart in the lead had this been an A film.
Outlaw on the run Davis leaves a pursuing posse behind as he goes into the desert where they don't want to chase him. He meets a dying marshal played by Douglas Fowley and assumes his identity which stands him in good stead when he gets across the desert and into a town where the local Ponderosa is run by Louis Jean Heydt and his homicidal son Lee Van Cleef.
They've got a real problem, black spot fever, second cousin to typhus as Dr. Harry Lauter puts it. The cattle ought to be destroyed, but Heydt and Van Cleef would sooner lynch the marshal and save their diseased cattle and profits.
When Davis breaks up said lynching he becomes involved with the town and its problem of standing up to Heydt who is not used to people telling him no. He also becomes Lauter's rival for Arleen Whelan who runs the local café.
I think you can see where this is all going. I might have changed the ending, but even with the climax it has The Badge Of Marshal Brennan is a fine feature with a plot that's a cross between Shane and The Left Hand Of God. It really deserved a bigger budget.
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