A marshal nicknamed "The Hangman" because of his track record in hunting down and capturing wanted criminals traces a robbery suspect to a small town. However, the man is known and liked in... See full summary »
The War Between the States has just ended as the action in this work begins, following five Union soldiers as they return to their homes in the Ozarks of northern Arkansas, matter-of-factly planning a resumption of their pre-War existences. However, many residents from the village of Winslow and its surrounding region are averse to offering a helping hand to Yankees, Arkansas having been a member of the Confederacy. Nonetheless, some Winslow citizens are working to close the nation's divisiveness and it is to them that the returning veterans must look for support. Ongoing animosity between both factions in a recent war provides interesting material for a film; unfortunately, this one is not composed well with a result that it fails to develop interest for viewers. Veteran director of Westerns Joe Kane is called from retirement as an attempt to rescue this faltering production, but he is not enough to offset a stale script and a great deal of deficient acting. Although it should properly be designated as a Southern rather than as a Western, some old hands of the latter genre are present, including Walter Brennan in his last feature film outing, John Russell, Myron Healey, and Dan White, each of whom plays creditably, although unavailingly, given the screenplay shortcomings. Locals, along with stuntmen, fill many of the parts, while members of a remarkable quartet comprised of the lead females either are barely able to read their lines or overact to an absurd extent, sure signs of too few takes and a lack of direction. Cinematographer Mario Tosi creates a visually sensuous environment, one that correctly utilizes natural light; the sound mixing, however, is eccentric. The Ozark location is extraordinarily beautiful, and Tosi takes full advantage of its luxuriance so that in each scene, notwithstanding the action's failure to consistently draw in the viewer, there remains much to enjoy in the pictoral sense; 'tis less than providential that for Kane's swan song, the landscape steals the show.
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