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"Zane Grey Theater" Lariat (1956)

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Nobody Had That Chiseled Face Quite Like Jack Palance!

Author: ccthemovieman-1 from United States
6 May 2010

Few people ever played the villain while looking totally evil like Jack Palance. He had that chiseled lean face than exuded nastiness when he wanted it. Heck, even dogs went running at the sight of one glare from Palance (see "Shane"). We see that look early on in this episode as Palance plays "Dan Morgan," a handy guy with the lariat.

One day, Morgan is bullying some poor guy in a bar and after he throws his lariat around the guy, the latter falls and dies. That's the opening scene. After the usual informative introduction by host Dick Powell, who tells us that the lariat was almost as important to the cowboy as his horse, the story resumes and we find out Morgan was given five years in jail for his actions.

Yes, it was an accidental killing but he had been warned about his behavior, so he got five years "in a stinkin' little cell," as he bitterly put it. When he's out, he comes looking for the judge, with revenge on his mind.

Without giving too much else away, that mean guy with the lariat starts to change his tune when he sees the judge's daughter. Hmmmm.....maybe I ought take the judge up on his offer, he thinks.

Complications arise from that relationship, or non-relationship (it's hard to tell, as we find out) and from the rest of the family's look at developments. This turns out to be a little melodramatic in several spots but with Palance and company you can usually expect an edgy type of story.

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