In 1864 Cavalry Captain John Hayes reluctantly follows orders to become the civilian boss of the Overland Stage Line, which keeps the flow of Western gold to the Union and will help it win the Civil War. Headquarters for the stage line is a small Colorado town with Southern sympathizers who will do anything they can to sabotage his mission. Resistance to his efforts is led by former friend ad colleague Clay Putnam, who has taken advantage of Hayes' absence and married his former sweetheart. Written by
Westbound does not form part of the "Ranown "cycle of Westerns on which star Scott and director Boetticher collaborated in the 1950's and which included such stone classics as Comanche Station,The Tall T and Ride Lonesome .These were the work of the excellent screenwriter ,later director, Budd Kennedy while this has a workmanlike script from a pair of studio hacks The storyline is a little thin and this is the only major weak spot in a tense and crisp Western which takes the Civil War as its backdrop .Scott plays a Union cavalry officer assigned to re-establish a stage line that he once managed before the war ,the purpose being to ship gold from California to the Federal banks .He must overcome a Confederate agent ,in the form of Andrew Duggan and still he finds time to romance the feisty and gallant heroine played by Karen Steele Boetticher directs with style and aplomb ;there is a lively musical score and some limpid colour cinematography by J Peverell Mackay that adds real lustre to the look of the picture . Add some strong performances and you get an above average minor Western with a crisp running time and lots of lively action by way of diversion .It is a very neat little movie indeed and recommended to Western fans in particular
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