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The wife of marshal Matt Morgan is raped and murdered. The killers leave behind a distinctive saddle, that Morgan recognises as belonging to his old friend Craig Belden, now cattle baron in the town of Gun Hill. Belden is sympathetic, until it transpires that one of the murderers is his own son Rick, whom he refuses to hand over. Morgan is determined to capture Rick and take him away by the 9.00 train; but he is trapped in the town alone, with Belden and all his men now looking to kill him. Written by
David Levene <D.S.Levene@durham.ac.uk>
"Last Train From Gun Hill" never received the praise it was due coming as it did between two more famous John Sturges westerns, "Gunfight At the O.K. Corral" (1957) and "the Magnificent Seven" (1960). It is nonetheless a classic in its own right. It has a strong cast headed by Kirk Douglas and Anthony Quinn and holds your attention from start to finish.
Two cowboys, Rick Beldon (Earl Holliman) and Lee Smithers (Brian G. Hutton) are on their way home from a few days of fun and games when a buckboard carrying an attractive young Indian squaw (Zora Rodann) and her young son Petey (Lars Henderson). The men taunt the young woman until she horse whips Rick, laying open a deep cut on his face. The men become angered and chase the woman until they catch her and rape her, accidentally killing her in the process. Her son escapes, steals Rick's horse and rides to town to tell his father, who happens to be town marshal Matt Morgan (Douglas).
Morgan distraught over his wife's horrible death, recognizes the saddle on Rick's horse as that of an old friend Craig Beldon (Quinn). Beldon is now a wealthy rancher who controls most of the town of Gun Hill. Morgan takes the train to Gun Hill where he meets Beldon's mistress Linda (Carolyn Jones). He then goes to Beldon's ranch in search of his wife's killers. At first Beldon offers his help until he realizes that the guilty party is his son Rick.
Morgan vows that he will take Rick and Lee back for trial on, you guessed it, the last train from Gun Hill. Beldon swears that Morgan will never take his son and makes plans to stop Morgan. Morgan manages to capture Rick and......
As in other Sturges westerns there is plenty of action, excellent photography and solid direction all leading up to a climatic gunfight.
Also in the cast are Brad Dexter and Bing Russell as Beldon's top henchmen and Walter Sande as the town sheriff. Sharp eyed western fans will also spot veterans Glenn Strange, Dabbs Greer, Charlie Stevens, Billy Benedict, John Anderson and Ty Hardin in small featured roles.
A great western.
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