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A stranger in a Western cattle-town behaves with remarkable self-assurance, establishing himself as a man to be reckoned with. The reason appears with his stock: a herd of sheep, which he intends to graze on the range. The horrified inhabitants decide to run him out at all costs. Written by
David Levene <D.S.Levene@durham.ac.uk>
Glenn Ford comes to town after winning a herd of sheep in a poker game and wants to settle down. Unfortunately it's in the middle of cattle country and we western fans know sheep and cattle don't mix. The whole town is against him. Leading the fight against Ford is Leslie Nielson in one of his earliest screen roles. Ford and Nielson have a common past together and Ford knows he's using an alias in the town.
It sounds like a serious range war film is opening. But actually it is one of the funniest westerns ever done. Glenn Ford is perfectly cast as the would be sheep rancher and his deadpan delivery is just wonderful to hear. Credit must go to Director George Marshall. Marshall had worked with Ford in one other film before in Ford's early Hollywood days, Texas. After the success of The Sheepman, the two of them collaborated on a whole slew of films. Marshall was one of the best comedy directors ever in Hollywood.
Shirley MacLaine has a good Calamity Jane like part and makes the most of it with her special brand of quirkiness. Edgar Buchanan who was in just about every other Glenn Ford film does fine as the livery stable owner with few scruples, but a surprising sense of integrity.
However in the supporting cast I have to mention Mickey Shaughnessy as Nielson's chief henchman. Shaughnessy specialized in playing slow witted oafs on the screen who usually were good for a few laughs. His scenes with Ford are something to behold as Ford is constantly getting the better of him in a battle of wits and/or fists. I think this film was Mickey Shaughnessy's finest screen hour.
Good comedy and enough action for the fans of traditional western fare.
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