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Escort West (1958)

Not Rated | | Western | 23 January 1959 (USA)
An ex-Confederate officer and his young daughter, traveling West, rescue two women survivors of an Indian attack.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Ben Lassiter
...
Beth Drury
...
Martha Drury
Reba Waters ...
Abbey Lassiter
...
Lt. Jamison
Leo Gordon ...
Trooper Vogel
...
Nelson Walker
John Hubbard ...
Lt. Weeks
...
Trooper Travis
...
Corporal Wheeler
...
Sgt. Doyle
William Ching ...
Capt. Howard Poole
...
Trooper Burch
Claire Du Brey ...
Mrs. Kate Fenniman
Syd Saylor ...
Elwood Fenniman
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Storyline

In 1865 in Nevada, former Confederate Captain Ben Lassiter and his daughter Abbey travel through Modoc territory on their way to Oregon. At Fenniman's Station they stop for a meal, a bath and supplies. Inside the way-station, a group of Union soldiers, led by Lieutenant Weeks, are enjoying a meal. The patrol escorts an Army payroll and two sisters to meet another patrol, led by Captain Howard Poole. One of the sisters, Beth Drury, is engaged to Poole. The other sister, Martha Drury, is bitter at having lost her fiance during the American Civil War. When Ben Lassiter and his daughter sit for a meal inside the way-station, Martha Drury reacts badly toward the former Confederate officer and asks the Union patrol to arrest Lassiter. However, the Union patrol commander explains the civil war is over, shrugs Martha's suggestion off and orders the patrol to move on. Unknown to them, the Modocs have already set up a nearby ambush while other Modocs have surrounded Captain Poole's troop, ... Written by nufs68

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Rebel on a Rampage!

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

23 January 1959 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Patrouille westwärts  »

Filming Locations:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Connections

Referenced in You Bet Your Life: Episode #9.15 (1959) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Unpretentious Western Offers Authenticity, Solid Family Entertainment
29 September 2010 | by (North Texas sticks (see all my reviews)) – See all my reviews

Escort West is an unpretentious little Western starring that unpretentious actor Victor Mature. Vic was the original muscle man. Before there was an Arnold Schwarzeneger, even before there was a Steve Reeves, there was Victor Mature. Yet unlike those two aforementioned massive hulks, Vic was graceful and athletic enough to look good in a suit, at least the loose fitting types worn in the 'forties and 'fifties, which constituted his flourishing period. In My Darling Clementine they even managed to pass him off as a consumptive Doc Holliday by keeping him in a grossly over-sized coat and using extra shadow under his eyes. Vic apparently never took himself very seriously as an actor, nor did most film critics. One wag quipped that in a certain movie Victor Mature used all of his muscles except the ones in his face. Okay, he wasn't an Olivier, but in Escort West he turned in a solid, sensitive, charming and effective lead performance.

And he did it with out letting the dreaded presence of a child actress steal the show. Vic plays an ex-Confederate Captain, recently widowed and on his way to start a new life in Oregon with his young daughter (Reba Waters) soon after the Civil War. I must confess that as a life-long old grouch, I usually don't like movies where a cutesy kid plays a major part, but little Reba charmed the socks off of me in the first scene and continued to do it for 75 minutes. Seldom does a child actor or actress turn in such an understated and dignified, yet charming performance. The tender yet never syrupy relationship between the father and daughter amidst the adversity of war, losing their wife/mother and their home, and now hostile Indian attack is one of the elements that gives this story a slight edge over the average B oater.

Not that Escort West doesn't have other good points. The script, co-authored by Bruce Gordon, who also plays one of his typical brutish heavy parts in the movie, is conventional but lucid and entertaining. Francis D. Lyon's direction and smooth editing keeps the action-packed story tense and exciting. Good use is made of the black and white Cinemascope format in both action sequences and panoramic views of the scenery. Characterization is a strong point helped along by a platoon of veteran western character actors the like of Noah Beery, Jr., Slim Pickens, Rex Ingram, and Harry Carry, Jr. The female lead and second lead Elaine Stewart and Faith Domegue also make competent contributions.

This little B programmer displays an unusual authenticity for a western of this era. It was particularly impressive that the cavalry uniforms were true to the Civil War era and not the usual stock 1870's Indian Wars uniforms, which are quite different. The Sharps breech loading carbines used by the cavalry and the Indians were likewise accurate to the 1860's. The Remmington revolvers, though actually later cartridge models, did good service showing profiles that look like period cap and ball revolvers. The holsters looked like Civil War types, and the gun belts were lacking cartridge loops (cap and ball revolvers used delicate paper cartridges which couldn't be carried in loops). The renegade Modoc Indians, who were the principal menace, dressed as most Indians of the period would have -- not naked savages who had only just come into contact with civilization, but wearing mostly the same clothes the whites did with a few Indian flourishes like gaudy belts and leather leggings. Like any acculturated Indian criminals, they used rifles and pistols, instead of bow and arrow and spear, and they fired from behind cover instead of throwing themselves away in dervish-like rushes as we see in so many clichéd westerns.

Admittedly not in a class with Red River or even one of Randolph Scott's better numbers, Escort West nevertheless delivers exciting family entertainment for an hour and fifteen minutes. In many ways it was better than any number of more sumptuously turned out westerns, and for this old, weathered oat-burner fancier at least, better than all but the very best of those whistling, ricocheting spaghetti-burners.


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