In Duel At Apache Wells young Ben Cooper returns home after several years of riotous living and general hell raising to find his father in a heap of trouble. Harry Shannon is being hemmed in on all sides and denied access to water at Apache Wells if he wants to drive his cattle to market. His adversary is Jim Davis who once worked for Shannon until he caught him doing a little rustling on the side. Now Davis has bought himself a neighboring ranch and hired a bunch of gunfighters led by Bob Steele, a most professional in the strictest sense of the word gunfighter.
Davis is the main reason to see this film. He's one swaggering bully of a villain who is not only trying to drive Shannon out of business, but wants to cut Cooper out of his time with Anna Maria Alberghetti the daughter of the local merchant Frank Puglia.
In the end Cooper has an ace up his sleeve that we don't find out until almost the very end.
It would have been nice had Alberghetti been given a song to sing, but that might have distracted from the film which was most definitely not a Roy Rogers type western from Republic. In fact the director was Joseph Kane, one of Herbert J. Yates's most prolific western directors who did dozens with Rogers, Gene Autry and all the rest of the Republic cowboy stars who were all gone from the studio by 1957.
Republic itself didn't have much life left. Oddly enough though Yates made some good westerns in those last few years that his studio had some life in it. Duel At Apache Wells is one of them.
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