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A group of unlikely traveling companions find themselves on the same stagecoach to Cheyenne. They include a drunken doctor, a bar girl who's been thrown out of town, a professional gambler, a traveling liquor salesman, a banker who has decided to embezzle money, a gunslinger out for revenge and a young woman going to join her army captain husband. All have secrets but when they are set upon by an Indian war party and then a family of outlaws, they find they must all work together if they are to stay alive. Written by
Dudley Nichols wrote a great screenplay for a great film - 1939's Stagecoach, that is, directed by John Ford, not the 1960s remake we have here.
As the Ringo Kid, Alex Cord lacks the menace, dynamism, and screen presence of the young John Wayne - meaning that the focus of this Stagecoach has to be on other participants. Ann-Margret is very good as Dallas (the part originally played by Claire Trevor); while Stefanie Powers makes her mark as Mrs Mallory. Bing Crosby is the boozy doc with a heart (not a patch on Thomas Mitchell's turn thirty years earlier but Crosby was always worth watching); while Red Buttons is disappointing as the liquor salesman with eight kids (far better was the twittery Donald Meek).
Using the 1939 screenplay, this film is pretty much a straight remake, but in standard class. Slim Pickens does a fair imitation of Andy Devine as the hapless coach driver, and Bob Cummings is just plain irritating as the crook who has a mysterious case he won't let out of his sight.
So, 'Stagecoach' is OK as a time-filler, but was not needed - why bother when the film has already been made and stands as a classic. Liked the end portraits of the cast though, and always good to see Keenan Wynn, however brief a role he has (and it is pretty brief here), although pivotal.
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