After responding to an item in the local newspaper, Paladine takes the Overland stage to Bracketville to see DeWitt about his unruly son. For his fee, he is to kidnap the boy, take him to ... See full summary »
After responding to an item in the local newspaper, Paladine takes the Overland stage to Bracketville to see DeWitt about his unruly son. For his fee, he is to kidnap the boy, take him to another town where some friends will sit on him until he cools down. Then he finds the son just rode in on the stage with him and is the new attorney. When he is killed, Paladin must shoot it out with the marshal or himself be killed. Written by
Has Paladin met his match? Marshal Elmo (Ebsen) is one nasty, arrogant tough guy who runs the town and, worse, has cracked open Paladin's noggin. Now our bloodied "knight without armor" staggers around, looking for the first stage out of town. Young DeWitt (Slate) is a good lawyer and wants to clean up the town, but can't handle a gun, so he's no help. And as Paladin observes on the stage survival comes before the law because without survival, there are no legal options.
Fine unpredictable script from Star Trek's Gene Roddenberry, showing the kind of promise that would later become legendary. Ebsen's also excellent, a long way from the likable rube he specialized in. I also like Mary Munday as the plain-faced saloon girl who would like to help. But, in my book, Slate's the real standout, bringing unusual spark and intelligence to the role of an earnest young lawyer. I'm just sorry he didn't have the career I think his talent merited, (what a great Jack London he would have made). Anyway, it's an above average entry with a few surprises.
(In passingthe last sequence looks like an oddity of staging to me. Ebsen appears framed against a sound stage "exterior" while Boone who's supposed to be facing him appears framed against the real outdoors. Were they filmed at different times, is that why?)
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