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It's just prior to the Civil War and Fort Laramie's problem is the Sioux Indians. When it is announced that war has been declared the fort becomes divided between northerners and southerners. The fort Commander and the southerners resign and head south. But they have to go through Sioux territory and are soon attacked. A messenger gets back to the fort to relate their hopeless condition and the new northern commanded must decide what to do. Written by
Maurice VanAuken <email@example.com>
The premise is promisinga cavalry garrison divided evenly between Northerners and Southerners on the eve of the Civil War. That's inside the fort. On the outside is a riled-up Sioux nation looking for white-man scalps that the rebs will have to ride through if they want to get to Dixie. So who would want to be the commanding officer with killer complications of this sort. And if that's not bad enough, add a wagonload of gold due at the fort that the budding Johnnie-rebs want to take south. Poor Major Bradner, he has an oath to the army, but family roots in the South. So there's more than enough plot for any 70-minute movie. Then too, Bel Air Productions popped for scenic Kanab, Utah locations that produce a lot of commanding red rock scenery even if the terrain looks nothing like Laramie-area Wyoming.
So, with these promising ingredients, why aren't the results better than they are. In my book, the acting lacks the intensity that these conflicting cross-currents should realistically produce. Basically, the actors (even the great John Dehner) stand there and speak their lines, but without much feeling, so the drama never really gels the way it should. I guess director Selander's specialty is action and not acting. Still, there are a couple of good battle scenes especially the unusual skirmish between soldiers on rafts and Indians on the riverbank. Anyhow, if you're not too expectant, this is a decent enough oater made at the peak of the Western craze of the 1950's.
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