Chief Ironside has just retired and is looking forward to running his vineyard with his wife. But his retirement is interrupted when his old friend and colleague Ed Brown, who is now ... See full summary »
The very first film usually dubbed a Hollywood western was Cecil B. DeMille's The Squaw Man which came out in 1913. The plot involved an English earl going west to America after one of those Victorian affairs of honor and settling down with an American Indian wife.
A lot of the plot elements of The Squaw Man are in Showdown at Williams Creek. In this Tom Burlinson is not an earl, far from it he's a British officer who sees a chance for promotion in the 1860s in the army of Great Britain slim because of the custom of purchasing a commission. Ironically enough right at the time he was deciding to head to North America to seek his fortune, the Gladstone ministry and its Secretary for War Lord Cardwell was finally addressing just such abuses.
In any event Burlinson goes to America, falls in with some bad companions and one of them leaves him to die with an Indian arrow wound. But he's rescued by a band of Metis, mixed racial descendants of fur trappers and Indians and falls in love with Michelle Thrush one of the women who he has a son by.
The story is told in flashback by Burlinson on the stand during a murder trial where he's accused of shooting down Donnelly Rhodes that bad companion he fell in with. As the story unfolds Burlinson being left to die is only part of the reason for the homicide.
I first saw Burlinson in his native Australian production of The Man From Snowy River. He gave a good account of himself here as he did there. In that other film, I managed to learn what a 'brumbie' is, we call them mustangs in the USA.
Playing the judge in the courtroom is Raymond Burr who in fact is a native Canadian. I'm sure he was there to encourage independent Canadian film making and lend a little Perry Mason box office to the effort.
The film is nicely photographed in British Columbia and if it's broadcast in Canada or in the USA or at the North Pole for Santa Claus, I urge you catch it.
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