Blaise Starrett is a rancher at odds with homesteaders when outlaws hold up the small town. The outlaws are held in check only by their notorious leader, but he is diagnosed with a fatal wound and the town is a powder keg waiting to blow.
Virgil Renchler owns most of the town providing a thriving economy. When his men go too far and kill one of his migrant workmen, the sheriff goes after him even if it means his job and everyone else's.
Monogram Pictures changed its name to Allied Artists in an effort to change its image from that of a cheap B-studio. For the most part, it didn't really work. Allied Artists' product suffered from the same deficiencies that Monogram's did: shoddy production values, lesser talent--both in front of and behind the cameras--and a lack of originality in its stories. This film, however, does not fall into that mold. While the story--survivors of an Indian attack make their way across the desert to safety--may seem trite, what is done with it isn't. Director Harold D. Schuster, a former editor, is hardly a household name, but he has made several tight little B pictures (1954's "Loophole" is a first-rate film-noir thriller about a bank teller framed for a robbery), and this is one of them. Dennis O'Keefe does a very good job as a cavalry officer who survives an Indian attack, and must lead a disparate group to safety across the desert. They come across a group of traders who aren't exactly what they seem to be, and must band together with them for mutual protection. Jack Elam plays a gunfighter who isn't quite what he seems to be, either. There's a good musical score, Schuster handles the action scenes quite well, and there are some interesting plot twists. Altogether, a well-paced, intriguing little western, highly recommended.
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