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Playing against type, Dean Martin is an ex-lawman who has decided to illegally profit from his abilities. He now owns most of the town of Jericho, and has hired a band of gunmen to enforce his edicts. Outside of town, Martin ambushes a stagecoach that is carrying a passenger, ex-marshal George Peppard. From a hidden spot in the brush, Martin shoots up the coach and rides away. Arriving in town, Peppard meets Jean Simmons who has refused Martin's attempts to take over operation of her stage line. After a few days, Peppard becomes attracted to Simmons, but he sees that the odds against them are too great, and is on the verge of leaving town. But, after Martin physically roughs up Simmons, Peppard organizes the few men in town who are willing to put up a fight, and attacks enterprises that are owned by Martin. Finally, in a showdown, Martin and Peppard battle it out, ironically in the same spot that Martin originally ambushed the stagecoach. Written by
WILLIAM L TRAVIS
Passable Western about a rough confrontation with strong characterization
Compelling tale of an ex-deputy and his nemesis who is hired by a widow to protect her from revenge-seeking outlaws . In the Old west there are always the men who live breathe violence and the women who hold their breath . A ¨town tamer¨ , ex-sheriff and now professional gambler named Dolan (George Peppard) along with his old pal (John McIntire) come hired by Molly Lang (Jean Simmons) who owns the stagecoach line to rid the baron land named Alex Flood (Dean Martin)and his hoodlums (Slim Pickens , Steve Sandor) . Dolan as ex-lawman brings peace for the townspeople , meanwhile Alex takes the justice on his own hands , hanging enemies and appointing marshals and orders warnings , as wearing of guns or other weapons in town is banned . Flood is a whole villain determined to kill Dolan , he owns the Palace Casino, Saloon , General Store and lands . But the town council afraid the raw methods carried out by Flood and reunite , when Alex aware he orders to burn the place . At the end the kingpin landowner appears and attempts to murder Dolan with his own means .
This is a tremendously exciting story of an ex-deputy-for-hire who had only one more killing to go. It begins as a sluggish , slow-moving Western but follows to surprise us with dark , rudimentary characters and solid plot . The tale is almost grim though full of clichés, a pacifier and his old partner come to a town just in time to make sure its citizenry but later the events get worse . The action is brutishly cruel as when Dean Martin slaps and hits Jean Simmons. The highlights of the film are the facing off between Peppard and Slim Pickens and the climatic showdown on the ending at the saloon and the town. Phenomenal and great role for Dean Martin as bad guy , he's the whole show. Vivid and lively musical score by Don Costa and atmospheric cinematography by Russell Metty. Watchable results for this offbeat Western.
The motion picture is professionally directed by Arnold Laven . Laven formed a production company along with Jules Levy and Arthur Gardner. The first Levy-Gardner-Laven movie was 1952's "Without Warning"'; in the decades since, they have produced and directed dozens of additional features . He's an expert on Western genre as cinema as television as he produced and directed several TV series including "The Rifleman," "Law of the Plainsman," , "The Big Valley" . And directed acceptable Western films as ¨The glory guys¨, ¨Geronimo¨and ¨Sam Whiskey¨.
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