Two friends return home after their discharge from the army after the Civil War. However, one of them has had deep-rooted psychological damage due to his experiences during the war, and as ... See full summary »
A Union ex-officer plans to sell up to Anchor Ranch and move east with his fiancee, but the low price offered by Anchor's crippled owner and the outfit's bully-boy tactics make him think ... See full summary »
Edward G. Robinson
During the war for Texas independence, one man leaves the Alamo before the end (chosen by lot to help others' families) but is too late to accomplish his mission, and is branded a coward. ... See full summary »
Shortly before the start of the American Civil War rebel Kansas leader Luke Darcy dreams of a new independent Republic of Kansas. His vigilante group is called The Jayhawkers and their mission is to end slavery by force. However, Darcy uses The Jayhawkers for his own bid for absolute control of Kansas. Darcy's actions do not sit well with the military governor of Kansas, William Clayton, who wants Darcy captured and brought to justice. For this purpose the governor hires an ex-renegade rebel, Cam Bleeker, to join Darcy's group and capture their leader. Bleeker has a personal reason for wanting to see Darcy hanged. Darcy was responsible for Bleeker wife's death while Bleeker was in prison. Written by
Plot-- An ex-renegade (Parker) agrees to infiltrate a renegade band in return for a pardon from the feds. Then too, he's got a personal grudge against the band's leader (Chandler) for victimizing his wife and their farm. Trouble is the leader is kind of a likable guy. So which way will the ex-renegade go.
Somewhere inside all the turgid talk is a good story of conflict between Parker's emotions and his principles. Trouble is the studio (Paramount) appears more interested in playing up the three leads than in the story itself. Thus we get a ton of talky scenes with some combination of Parker, Chandler, and Aubert instead of action or suspense. So western fans may feel cheated in the action department. I suspect four scriptwriters working on the same screenplay have something to do with that. Then too, the direction (Frank) is pretty flat. In fact, the director's resume (IMDB) appears more at home with fluff than outdoor drama. It's noteworthy too that the locations never leave greater LA, so we're also short in the scenic department. That's especially unfortunate since the film needs some sweep to match the story's scale. After all, the script is playing with the disposition of an entire state, Kansas. On the other hand, Paramount did pop for an army of extras to fill out the mustering scenes.
I winced at one point where Chandler says life is short, or words to that effect. Tragically, Chandler himself would die two years later as a result of medical malpractice. So his words here seem more than just a little prophetic. Too bad the menacing Henry Silva is largely wasted in a routine role. Some close-ups of his sinister sneer would have added needed dramatic impact. All in all, the movie's a turgid disappointment despite a capable cast, a good core conflict, and big screen VistaVision.
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