Colorado Territory (1949) Poster

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Memorable Forties Western.
jpdoherty23 November 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Despite the misnomer of a title Warner Bros."Colorado Territory" remains a well liked and memorable forties western. Produced for Warners in 1949 by Anthony Villiers and tightly directed by Raoul Walsh this was the vintage director's reworking of his own classic 1941 Bogart gangster hit "High Sierra" as a western. The result turned out to be an exciting and top notch outdoor western adventure. However its somewhat hoary and clichéd title does tend to give the picture a cheap and dismissive B picture status which is totally unwarranted. They could just as easily have called it simply "Colorado" which not only would have been a title of greater dramatic impact but would also have made reference to the character in the story Calorado Carson as played by Virginia Mayo. Written for the screen by John Twist it was based on W.R. Burnett's novel "High Sierra" and crisply photographed in glorious Black & White by the great Sid Hickok.

Outlaw Wes McQueen (Joel McCrea) is broken out of prison by an old accomplice and mentor (Basil Ruysdael) to plan and execute one last job - the robbery of $100,000 from the southbound Denver & Rio Grande train. But Reno Blake and Duke Harris (John Archer/James Mitchel) the two others he has to work with are a couple of mistrustful and devious characters who resent McQueen arriving at the hideout and starting to give orders. Along with the two - for some female company - is an attractive half-breed dance hall girl Calorado Carson (Virginia Mayo) who immediately takes a fancy to McQueen because he treats her with some respect. Eventually thwarting a double cross by Reno and Duke during the actual robbery on the speeding train McQueen and Colorado escape with the money on horseback hotly pursued by the US Marshal (Morris Ankrum) and his posse. The picture ends tragically with a wounded McQueen being boldly defended by Colorado in a fierce gun battle as she tries in vain, with two six guns, to stop the advancing posse. Together, hand in hand, Wes and Colorado perish.

The acting is generally good from all concerned. In a rare instance of playing an outlaw McCrea gives his usual laconic and appealing performance. But better is Virginia Mayo who is very striking as the hard bitten half-breed who falls in love with the gentle fugitive. And not forgetting the powerful image she created for the blistering finale. Standing daringly and with trenchant resolve and determination she blasts away with two six guns in defense of her wounded man before being brought down in a hail of gunfire. It is a great cinematic moment!

Besides the marvellous monochrome cinematography of Sid Hickock, filmed in and around Gallup New Mexico, the picture is also buoyed by a terrific score by the ever underrated David Buttolph featuring a sweeping and arching main theme and some great action music especially for the train chase sequence.

A good western "Colorado Territory" was never available on DVD before but now thanks to the Warner Archives label it has just been released in a clean and sharp transfer.
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Very entertaining '40's western from Raoul Walsh.
Boba_Fett113829 September 2006
Raoul Walsh was perhaps the most entertaining director of the '40's, with movies like "Objective, Burma!", "They Died with Their Boots On" and "Gentleman Jim" behind his name, plus he also made some good early westerns. Sounds like the perfect guy to direct a movie like this, especially since this movie is a western remake of his earlier directed movie classic "High Sierra", with Humphrey Bogart and Ida Lupino. This movie might not be as 'star-filled' as the original but it's just as entertaining, arousing and intriguing on its own.

Westerns from the '40's were much different from the later spaghetti-westerns everybody knows. The early westerns from the '40's and the decades before that are a bit forgotten movies, probably mainly because they differ so much from the later westerns from the '60's and '70's that everybody from that- and later generations, basically grew up with. Westerns from the '40's were much darker and possibly less formulaic. This movie is basically more 'film-noir' than real western. It has all the basic film-noir ingredients in it; Backstabbing characters, treacherous woman, a criminal plot and mysterious unpredictable characters. It makes this movie also real perfect to watch for persons who don't like spaghetti-westerns.

Leave it up to director Raoul Walsh to tell a story well and entertaining. The story of "Colorado Territory" really isn't the most spectacular story you could think of but the way it is told and brought to the screen all can be called spectacular. The movie is filled with some real good action sequences and spectacular looking stunts. But granted that the storytelling is not completely flawless. The movie is perhaps a bit too short and the love story of the movie also doesn't quite work out as good as it could had been. I don't know, for some reason it just doesn't feel right, or connects with the rest of the movie.

The storytelling also makes sure that the movie remains for most part unpredictable, which also helps to make the film-noir elements work out. "Colorado Territory" is a rare both unpredictable and entertaining movie.

The cast is solid. It isn't filled with the most known actors of its period. Perhaps Errol Flynn was expected to play a role in this, since he worked a lot with Raoul Walsh in the '40's but instead the main part is played by Joel McCrea, who was an expert at playing characters in westerns. He plays a good and convincing tough-guy who has a good heart. Perhaps a bit too much of a good heart to make the story entirely believable but that's just common and entirely fitting for '40's movie-making standards.

An interesting to watch- and spectacular entertaining noir-western, that just like its original version "High Sierra", deserves to be seen.

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One More Heist
harry-764 October 2003
Just one, before our aging outlaw's final retirement and start of a new life.

But there are complications--crafty colleagues, traitor accomplices and--women.

One woman turns out to be helpful, the other merely selfish. But that's just the start of our antihero's problems.

It's a Raoul Walsh film, and by golly, if any director knew how to make a movie move, it's Walsh. Made the same year as his classic, "White Heat," this western also ends with an "On Top o' the World" finale.

Joel McCrea is an intriguing actor. A sort of neutral entity that could be cast in any kind of role and come off looking and sounding natural and acceptable. No one ever especially went to see, nor stayed away from a picture because of him. He was just there, always doing a dependable job. And what an array of fine directors used him.

Likewise, Virginia Mayo is a solid pro, and this role allows her more opportunity than merely being decorative. Her character work is most convincing.

Taking what could have been a routine script, Walsh turns it into a picture that, once one starts watching, one cannot stop till the end. It moves, surprises and stimulates.

Some directors just have it, and Walsh is clearly strutting his stuff in "Colorado Territory."
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Exceptional Raoul Walsh Western
Kalaman23 April 2003
Joel McCrea stars as the outlaw Wes McQueen who makes one last train robbery in Raoul Walsh's exceptional and sprawling Western remake of his own "High Sierra." As many commentators have pointed out, "Colorado Territory" is a major improvement over "High Sierra", a better-than-average Bogart vehicle marred by John Huston' tepidly moralizing screenplay. Walsh's breathtaking use of the landscape (especially toward the end) in "Colorado Territory" makes it more fascinating and exciting work. Walsh's heroes are often characterized by adventure. McCrea's Wes McQueen recalls such Walsh protagonists as Eddie Bartlett, George Custer, Gentleman Jim, Capt. Nelson, and Jeb Rand. They have a way of going too far. They are really existentialist heroes. Walsh's depiction of McQueen and his loyal bad girl's (Virginia Mayo) final descent into self-destruction is truly grim and pessimistic. Although "Colorado Territory" is devoid of the psychoanalytic verve of Walsh's "Pursued"(arguably his greatest Western), it is nonetheless a brilliant and memorable film that needs more following and appreciation.
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classic western
RanchoTuVu3 December 2009
Outlaw Wes McQueen (Joel McCrea) gets sprung from a Missouri jail on the day before he is to be transported to Leavenworth by his old gang who need him for a big train robbery somewhere out in the Colorado Territory. The characters couldn't be more different. McCrae plays the part of an outlaw struggling with his own moral scruples while his partners Duke (James Mitchell) and Reno (John Archer) compete to see who the meanest one is. The presence of Virginia Mayo in this group doesn't make a lot of sense, but her part increases as the film moves along. One of the film's best plot lines is the jealousy that comes to the surface of Reno's character as Mayo's Colorado Carson is clearly taken with the cool McQueen played by McCrae. On the other side of the law is a ruthless and relentless US Marshall played by Morris Ankrum who leads an impressively sized posse out to catch up with and either shoot or hang McQueen. The film zeroes in on treachery and deceit at every opportunity. Dorothy Malone's character is especially memorable.
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Much more than a remake of High Sierra
tmwest3 April 2005
For years I did not care about seeing this film because I kept reading that it was a remake of High Sierra, and I did not feel like seeing High Sierra twice. I finally saw it and greatly enjoyed it from beginning to end. It does have some points in common in the story but it is a totally different film. I would place it among the best westerns ever made. Joel McCrea is ideal for the character he plays, a man who escapes from jail and wants to become honest, but everything goes against him. He meets Henry Hull and his daughter Dorothy Malone on a stagecoach and starts idealizing her as the perfect wife, but he really does not know her. When he meets Virginia Mayo who is together with the outlaws he does not care so much for her initially. Virginia is outstanding in this movie, totally different from the tomboy she played in "Along the Great Divide" also directed by Raoul Walsh and where she was also great. There is a very good sequence of a train robbery, also a beautiful cinematography in black and white. This film has been called pessimistic, probably because at the time it was made most westerns were meant to provide light entertainment, but seeing it nowadays I would not qualify it as that.
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Harsher and more beautiful than I expected
eebyo5 November 2005
The commenters who called this "Western noir" are on the money. Just about everyone in this movie is a ratlike scheming double- or triple-crosser. Bad guys suffer fates not noticeably worse than the handful of schmo's who are honest (mostly in the relative, honor-among-thieves sense). It's all bleak for the ones who don't get out alive and also for the ones who do.

The one aspect of this movie that may have lost its punch for 21st century viewers is the script's banal dialogue for the two key women characters. Virginia Mayo in particular is better than her lines and her costume, which is fashioned entirely from clichés about wanton women who aren't 100 percent Anglo. But the story arc treats the women just differently enough from the "classic" Western that it held my interest.

The cast, top to bottom, is excellent. Joel McCrea does that thing he does so well *especially* well here. I'd like to see Peter Sarsgaard reprise a McCrea role some day, in either a Western or a Sturges classic.
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qedinternational-122 May 2006
Walsh's reworking of his own High Sierra into western format works in every conceivable way. In the reweaving, he has created a western noir more lyrical and more resonant than his original gangster noir. The background is used magnificently, both in terms of the landscape and in terms of the native cultures. Morris Ankrum, best known as a judge in myriad Perry Mason episodes and a General in several science fiction cult classics, is a revelation as the Marshal hunting antihero McCrea down relentlessly. At first he seems easy to outwit, but turns out to be much more formidable. Henry Hull, Ian Wolfe, Jim Mitchell, John Archer, also give excellent supporting performances. But it is half-breed Virginia Mayo, tough as nails but as loyal a woman warrior as ever walked the Earth, who steals the film's acting honor's from her excellent co-star.
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When a remake outshines the first version.
dbdumonteil5 June 2002
Warning: Spoilers
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Unlike the precedent user,I do think that "Colorado territory" is superior to the former "high sierra".Raoul Walsh was absolutely right to rework his screenplay and to turn it into a western.It's worth to make a comparison point by point between the two works.

Humphrey Bogart is superior to Joel McCrea,who does not posess the intensity and the madness that his part demanded,and his partnership with Virginia Mayo who has shone since her first appearance in the deserted village is unbalanced.Bat all that remains outdoes the whole of "high sierra".

The characters are more detailed than in the original story:Virginia Mayo's ("proof positive of Allah's existence" a sheik would have said)character has more substance than Ida Lupino's (it's not this excellent actress's fault though):a mixed-race girl,with Indian blood in her veins,she acts ,mainly in the last third as some kind of priestess of some pagan cult in this lost village whose secrets she seems to know intimately:about this subject,just compare the ominous Indian chants which are bad luck with the dog in the 1941 movie.Virginia Mayo radiates and recalls some of Jennifer Jones 's best parts (Vidor's"duel in the sun" which the ending recalls,and Powell's "gone to earth").Both are romantic actresses par excellence,but Mayo is more nervous,more rebellious (see her parts in Wyler's "best years of our lives" and chiefly Walsh's (again)"White heat")

Although it's a "men" movie,it's easy to see that it's actually the female parts Walsh favors:Dorothy Malone's character is much more credible than the crippled girl of the first version who made "High sierra" verge on melodrama.Once again,admire the work of the scenarists:the equivalents are stunning;Bogarts pays for the crippled girl's surgery,McCrea saves Malone and her father's lives ,then gives them a lot of money to dig a well.Malone's character (she could be one of King Lear's daughters) will be more ungrateful than her predecessor,trying to play the obnoxious role of Judas so that she will get rich and marry a high society man -whom we never see-.

The landscapes are used in a phenomenal way.The old town in ruin where MCQueen (McCrea) talks about Martha ,a dead woman he wanted to marry when he was young,where this girl,Colorado (Colorado territory!)feels from the start she won't escape anyway.Her fate is sealed:"you can escape from jail,she says,but you can't escape from yourself".These lovers are the stuff legends are made.And Walsh ,in his very last scene ,turns the tragedy in a faux happy end .The beaming monk rings the bells: the death of the couple brings life again in this silent place.'They were so happy" the monk says .People do not need to know if they still are.They became part of the legends the Indians tell by the moonlight.

Try to see "high sierra" and "Colorado territory"in a row.The latter can appeal,in spite of his very clever dialogue,to the most demanding western buffs:the scenes on the train are filmed with mastery and the very first scene with the old lady,is,to quote her,"mischievous".
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`The sun goes west and so the opportunity'
IlyaMauter15 May 2003
Colorado Territory is undoubtedly one of the best films directed by Raoul Walsh.In fact it's sort of a remake of a film Walsh directed 10 years before this one – High Sierra with Humphrey Bogart and Ida Lupino.

Colorado Territory's story revolves around a very sympathetic outlaw Wes McQueen (Joel McCrea) who is finally caught and put in jail but obviously not for a very long time, cause his former companions devise a plan to rob the train and are most certainly in need of him to be able to pull it off successfully. So they help him to escape. After Wes succeeds in doing so he finds a refuge in a distant abandoned village in the mountains where he meets his partners together with a spirited and beautiful woman Colorado (Virginia Mayo) who ends up falling in love with him not knowing that his heart already belongs to another very different woman Julie Ann (Dorothy Malone) who in her turn, doesn't know about Wes McQueen being one of the most sought after outlaws in the west. The question now is not who stays with the girl, but who stays with the guy in the most fateful and poignant film's ending. 8/10
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loydmooney28 March 2005
Warning: Spoilers
In the entire history of western movies, there have been very few shot through with poetic dialog. The Wild Bunch is one of them. The dialog is in fact so poetic that it is hard to miss, and more than once its quality has been noted by various well known film critics.

Colorado Territory, pound for pound is easily its equal. And why? Not Walsh, not Mc Crae, not any of the usual reasons given. In fact if you look at Walsh's other western works, and they are numerous and fine, none of them come close to this one in it's poetry. So either you chalk it up to just sheer luck, or you have to look elsewhere. Yet before I point to that reason, let's look at some of the lines...which probably will be considered a spoiler so, if you don't to hear any of the talk find a review without spoilers, and here goes: we're a couple of fools in a dead village dreaming about something that'll never happen... or earlier Mc Crae is warning two of his outlaw companions about being careful not to double cross him, and tells them about two others that tried to, and says.....they're buried outside Lawrence Kansas. Prettiest little bone orchard you'd ever want to see. Little stone angels watching over them.........or later Mc Crae is telling Pluffner, the railroad detective that has double crossed him, and now Mc Crae has found him out....robbing the dead....and the detective turns and exclaims his innocence, that the man he is robbing his died naturally, that its all part of the game, Mc Crae comes back with.... .... not this game, there's been so much bottom dealing from this deck it's dog eared..................and proceeds to shoot the detective.

Yet this was not the last time that western lovers would be treated to such wonderful stuff, except they would have to go to other directors, one being Stuart Heisler, and DALLAS.


The key ingredient in all this not being the director but a writer that heretofore has gone completely unnoticed by virtually any critic. Namely John Twist.

John Twist along with Borden Chase were the two finest writers of western cinema, period. Chase was, is, of course well known. Twist has for some reason been invisible. However one day, some discerning crew with get together for a retrospective of his films and the charade will be over. But trust me, western lovers, see his name on any film and you can always count on some of the best dialog ever written for westerns. Colorado Territory being his best.

As for the other comments here about the movie, they are pretty right on. This film is the equal overall of any of Mann's films, Boettichers, is better than most of Ford's, in fact only slightly below Red River and My Darling Clementine.

The only flaw is a rather mawkish handling of the Dorothy Malone situation: the whole business with her slows things down a bit. But anytime Mc Crae is not around her the film is about as perfect as a western can get.

Don't miss is.
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Territorial Doom.
Spikeopath11 July 2015
Colorado Territory is directed by Raoul Walsh and adapted to screenplay by Edmund H. North and John Twist from the novel "High Sierra" written by W.R. Burnett. It stars Joel McCrea, Virginia Mayo, Dorothy Malone and Henry Hull. Music is by David Buttolph and cinematography by Sidney Hickox.

Raoul Walsh remakes his own High Sierra from 1941 but supplants it into a western setting - with tremendous results.

McCrea plays outlaw Wes McQueen who springs from prison and vows to go straight, but with a price on his head he is coerced into one last railroad robbery. If he can escape the law, he can make a go of it as a new man, with a new man, and comforted by a new found love of a good woman, Colorado Carson (Mayo). Can he escape the law and those who would sell him for money?

A remake of a classic film noir, Colorado Territory is itself classic film noir. Whilst not reaching the dizzying star heights of Bogart's 41 version, this is a film of great strengths. Thematically it's noir gold dust, the great Walsh not pandering to anyone and ensuring the dark edges of Burnett's novel play out on screen, including the shattering finale.

The photography is grade "A", both in chiaroscuro textures and sumptuous location framings. Cast can't be faulted either, McCrea a genuine horseman is firmly at home in a Western setting, Mayo and Malone positively light and sex up the screen, while classy performer Hull lends weighty support.

High end Western staples are adhered to, with robbery actions, fights, stunts, villainous betrayals and back stabbers, these marry up to the noirish cement of a man unable to escape his fate, his past weighing heavy on his shoulders, there's a doom laden feel permeating the story.

Rarely mentioned when talk turns to film noir Westerns, but it should be as it's one of the best. 9/10
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"You can bust out of jail, but you can't bust out of who you are"(Colorado quote)
weezeralfalfa21 June 2013
Warning: Spoilers
The familiar plot explores the problem of a mature man, ready to settle down after an outlaw youth, but the justice system won't let him. In some films, such as "The Tall Men" and "The Bend in the River", the man is able to escape the reach of the law and presumably accomplish his transformation. In others, such as this, he is doomed to die trying.

Fugitive badman Wes McQueen(Joel McCrea) and feisty tomboyish femme fatal Colorado(Virginia Mayo) have high hopes of 'busting out' of his past baggage and making a new start together as ranchers in Mexico, hopefully out of reach of pursuing US lawmen. But, McQueen is contracted to lead one last train heist as a condition of help in his Missouri jail break, and to provide start up money for their future. This puts him on the radar as the #1 western badman, leading to the quick demise of both. Yep, it's presented as a tragic too late love story. McQueen seems like too nice a guy in most ways to fit his outlaw side. Clearly, Colorado is fatally infatuated by his combination of dangerousness and decency. Yep, he's her man and she will follow him to the grave.

Although officially a remake of "High Sierra" in a western setting, McQueen seems loosely modeled on Jesse James, who reputedly was planning to give up his outlaw ways after one more robbery, when he was assassinated by a gang member. It also repeats some key features of the previous "Duel in the Sun". It lacks any substantial musical or humorous elements, being a hard-driving drama and love story. The photography is excellent, much of it in darkened settings, in crisp B&W. In addition to the canyonland settings, the train robbery sequence was done with the Durango-Silverton railway in the SW Colorado mountains. It supposedly takes place when Colorado was a territory, from 1861-76.

This is yet another western where the leading man(dare I claim hero?) gets involved with 2 new beautiful single women: one conventionally prim, often newly arrived from the East, and the other a 'bad' flamboyant extraordinary beauty. Probably, in most films, the leading man(who often has a tainted past himself) eventually ends up with the 'good' girl. In Anthony Man's "The Far Country", clearly the 'bad' woman is made for Jeff, but she dies defending him in a gun battle. Hence, he is left with the 'good' girl, whom he considers too young and naive. In the present film, the choice is made more complicated by the reversal of the characterization of the two women during the film. Thus, when Julie(Dorothy Malone) learns that the tall handsome man who earlier saved her from a stagecoach bandit holdup is actually a notorious escaped convict with a $20,000. reward for his capture, she tries to open the door and tell the posse that McQueen is inside, so she can collect the reward.(Jesse James's capture topped out at only $10,000. during the same era!). A cat fight ensues, as Colorado tries to keep her from informing the posse. Previous to this, Colorado expertly extracted a bullet lodged in McQueen's shoulder with doctor's tweezer's, as if she had performed many such operations(?), cauterizing the wound by lighting a bit of gunpowder!. Yes, this is a historically legitimate procedure, but has to be done expertly for a good result! Obviously, from this point on, Colorado is the woman McQueen can trust to back him up.

Like Tracy, in "Harry Tracy, Desperado", McQueen tells his girl that he now has to go it alone, knowing that he will resist recapture to the death. Once McQueen is trapped by the posse in what clearly looks like the spectacular Canyon de Chelly(AZ)(which they ominously dub 'The Canyon of Death'), it's pretty obvious he's not coming out alive, especially since he can hold his rifle with only one arm. Unlike Tracy's girl, Colorado feels she must die taking a measure of revenge on the posse.

Before they split, McQueen gives Colorado essentially all the stolen money. She stuffs some in the offering box in the old Spanish mission and hides the rest nearby, before praying at the alter. Presumably, this is what the friar meant in the closing scene when he said this backwater village was renewed by this happy couple who passed through. The posse has no idea where to look for the money, and the friars probably won't find the major part for some time.

Although his past says he's a habitual desperado, McQueen comes across as one of the few characters we can trust, along with Julie's father(played by perennial scene stealer Henry Hull) and Colorado. Julie, McQueen's other partners in the holdup: Reno and Duke, as well as associates Pluthner and Wallace, clearly are untrustworthy backstabbers.

Viginia Mayo is winsome as the knockout fancy-free badman's moll, with cat-like gleaming eyes. She would revisit her passionate tomboy persona in the later excellent Raoul Walsh western "Along the Great Divide", where she has another meaty role in trying to save her father from a lynching or court-ordered hanging as an alleged murderer, as well as rustler.
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This is a first class Western film.
jmrlasvegas18 October 2009
Interestingly, Joel McCrea has been in two of the very best Westerns ever made...neither of which have the reputation of the big ones we all know. Colorado Territory & Ride The High Country are both films every fan of the genre should see.

In Colorado Territory, Virginia Mayo definitely takes the cake for the best babe ever in a Western. She's brave, fiercely loyal & can shoot straight. What more could we want?

The script is superior, with some very witty dialog among the gang of crooks and the action scenes are more believable than most. It's worth going out of your way to see.
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Pretty darned solid
bushrod5620 April 2005
Finally was able to view this semi-famous film (due mainly, I suspect, because of the Raoul Walsh/remake of HIGH SIERRA connection). Is it 'better' than HIGH SIERRA? A question, IMO, that doesn't need to be asked, much less answered. Both are pretty riveting pieces of entertainment for their respective genres (gangster & western). I'll admit I had some innocent fun in comparing the similarities of both. The thing I was struck by was the darker, more devious Malone character in the role Joan Leslie had in HIGH SIERRA and also feeling that maybe Joel McCrea was miscast; his screen persona is the 'stalwart and true' type and not an out and out bandit. His only chance to fit into a criminal role would be when it's 'forced' on him and I don't recall that being the case in this one. But why quibble? Here we have the superior art direction and fast action (mostly in the second half, true) typical of WB at it's late 40's/early 50's peak. This sort of thing makes up for a lot of any kind of casting/scripting deficiencies in my book. And what an under-rated actress is Virginia Mayo! She can be fiery one moment and then quiet and subtle the next. Very desirable in this one. I mostly prefer my westerns in good color, but think perhaps this one was pessimistic and dark enough to warrant B&W without decreasing the entertainment value (as in Walsh's PURSUED).
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Definitely Worth A Detour
cstotlar-110 December 2013
This is as superb western by a director who knows his stuff. Raoul Walsh hasn't received the credit he deserves and this film is all but forgotten. It doesn't have any big stars or overacting, agreed, and perhaps people are looking for Oscar material rather than a great film. It's their loss. The film covers much territory (no pun intended) but certainly not too much and the many surprises work quite well. The characters' motives unravel as the film progresses, the way they should work. There aren't any easy answers here and the clichés are nowhere to be found, unlike so many by-the-numbers westerns. This is an action film from the beginning and keeps things going until the very end. It should be much better known.

Curtis Stotlar
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A Fine Western
csp463 November 2011
While there may be a few cracks in this movie, overall it is a magnificent work. Some of it could have been shot by Ansel Adams. Few of the situations are forced and the script flows without some of the interruptions of irrationality noted in many westerns. The acting is universally excellent and production values are superb,something characteristic of Warner Bros. About the only complaint one may have about the cast is that Virginia Mayo's beauty is not as evident as it should be, for she is, in my opinion, one of the GREAT beauties to ever grace the screen. The twists and turns in this movie keep you in suspense. If you are a fan of the westerns, this one should allow you to exit the theater "justified".
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This ia an A-1 movie!!!
elmerreed23 September 2003
I saw this movie years ago...enjoyed it then and I enjoyed it just now on TCM. Thank You for showing the old classics... Virginia Mayo and Joel McCrea are great togather. They should have made more films like ' Colorado Territory '. Thanks again, Merna Reed
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Western noir, Joel McCrea and Virginia Mayo at their best.
TxMike5 January 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Joel McCrea was the western counterpart to Humphrey Bogart. As a bad man he was confident against his adversaries, delivered his lines very directly, was suspicious of women, and always died with dignity. McCrea was in his 40s and already a veteran of over 60 movies when he made 'Colorado Territory'. Virginia Mayo as 'Colorado' and Dorothy Malone as 'Julie Ann' were both in their 20s.

'Colorado Territory' is a western noir, and the story bears a strong similarity to the 1941 Bogart movie, 'High Sierra.' In both movies a career criminal is sprung from jail and expected to do a big heist, he gets involved with two other men plus a woman, he threatens to kill the two men if they don't straighten out, he at first dismisses the woman only to eventually fall in love with her, he gets seriously wounded, he is chased up a mountain by the law, he vows to never do jail time again, he holds them off with a rifle, a sniper gets to a higher position to try to capture him.

SPOILERS FOLLOW. Set in the 1800s, Wes McQueen (McCrea) escapes the Missouri jail by sawing the bars with a 'gift' brought in by an old woman. By horse he heads to Colorado where he is expected to lead a big train robbery. Holes up in an abandoned town in ruins, his two accomplices are suspicious and incompetent. Their 'woman' is Colorado who they brought from an El Paso saloon. Meanwhile he also gets sweet on Julie Ann and gives her dad $900 to pay for a well he badly needs on his spread.

The train heist is pulled, but the two accomplices try to cheat Wes by separating the money car from the engine, thinking Wes was guarding the engineers. But Wes is on top of the money car, cuffs the two men together and escapes with all the money. On the run he gets shot, Colorado operates and pulls the bullet out, Wes goes on the run again , she hides the money on top a confessional in a church, Wes is chased up a cliff, 'Colorado' shows up, gets the upper hand on the Marshall, heads to meet Wes with horses, but the sniper above shoots Wes. As about 20 to 30 men on horseback are charging them, 'Colorado' shots with both guns, and the horsemen gun down both Wes and Colorado, and they die holding hands.

Meanwhile, the little mission church is doing fine, after finding all that money above the confessional!
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Even better than the original
golden_years2 September 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Director Raoul Walsh's classic gangster film High Sierra, made in 1941, consolidated Humphrey Bogart's rising star after his breakthrough film The Maltese Falcon. Bogart's laconic but romantic portrayal of Roy Earle brought a particular poignancy to his tragic, flawed antihero who tries to go straight but is caught up in "one last job". Ida Lupino's vulnerable Marie provides a strong match for his powerhouse performance.

Walsh remade High Sierra in 1949 as a western photographed like his previous outing in the genre (Pursued) in a distinct noir mood and style. If anything, Colorado Territory tops High Sierra in cumulative impact: McCrea and Mayo bring an intense, dark romanticism wholly befitting their rush to doom and Walsh's treatment of the landscapes that both dwarf them and swallow them up is outstanding. This has my vote as one of the genre's top 20.
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Check Out one of the Best Westerns
LeonLouisRicci28 September 2013
Scathing Dialog that evokes Film-Noir (as does the Story), solid Performances by the entire Cast, Excellent and slightly askew Locations and Settings, Gunplay and Violence that doesn't Pull Punches, a Hard-Boiled tone with an Ending that is Downbeat and foreshadows the Cynical Mann, Boetticher Fifties Standouts in the Genre.

Yes, the Story is a Remake of High Sierra (1941) also done by Director Raoul Walsh, but this is every bit as Powerful in its Western Setting, and in some respects even more so. Virginia Mayo melts the Screen with Her Beauty and stands by Her Man with as much Heart and Dedication that befits the Noir Anti-Heroine, and thankfully there is no Dog this time.

The Script is loaded with many Quotables. Speaking of a Cemetery, the always intense but likable Joel McCrea reminisces..."It was the prettiest bone orchard you ever seen, looked over by stone Angels." There are many others. A slightly overlooked Film that is as Good as the Genre gets and is one of those that should attract Movie Buffs not usually enamored by Westerns.
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If there is a train...there is a train robber.
michaelRokeefe4 October 2003
Not typical, but exceptional. Director Raoul Walsh presents all that you look for in a western. An outlaw(Joel McCrea)has two things on his mind after getting out of jail. One is another railroad heist and the second is romancing "bad" girl Virginia Mayo. Fast moving action with great images of Colorado Territory. Super supporting cast includes: Dorothy Malone, James Mitchell, Henry Hull and John Archer. One of the best of the genre.
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Scenic Vistas & Better Than Average Story
DKosty12330 March 2008
Warning: Spoilers
This remake of Bogarts High Sierra is a good film vehicle. Raoul Walsh is getting more and more respect as a fine film maker years after his efforts. This is a very good film for its era.

There are scenes where things get a little choppy but overall the acting by the cast including Henry Hull is very good. Spoiler The ending is much better than most films of the period as the film is willing to kill it's main start at the end of the movie.

Rather than ruin it for a new viewer, I'd recommend viewing this film & I think viewers will be pleasantly surprised. The story works well & the film is overall much better than you'd expect. It centers around a train robber (Joel McRae) who breaks out of jail, finds out the love of his life has died, & then is enlisted in trying to make one more big score robbing a train.

During this stretch he meets 2 women (Virginia Mayo & Dorothy Malone)who make him forget his dead lover, and who both make different plays for him. I think I will leave it at that & recommend highly this Warner Brothers film.
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Great Classic Western!
whpratt19 October 2004
This was a Western story not like the average picture we have seen over the years, it had a different message with an ending that is true to what life is all about, happiness and sadness! Joel McCrea(Wes McQueen),"Wichita Town",'59 TV Series, had his share of bad luck and wanted desperately to start a new life and forget the past and its bad memories. However, Wes got caught up in situations that tried to prevent him from becoming a happily married man with children. Virginia Mayo,(Colorado Carson),"The Girl From Jones Beach",'49, tried to give him affection along with Dorothy Malone,"Basic Instinct",'92,who offered him an entirely different life. The picture will keep you guessing just how Wes will eventually find a true HAPPINESS!
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Excellent Movie.
contractassassin19 January 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I just got done viewing this excellent western drama - and truly it was a tear jerker in the very end.

Not that I condone crime or to make heroes out of bank and train robbers.

But to understand the character of a robber - you have to examine his childhood.

But this movie was really great - in terms of the writing, the beautiful locations, and the terrific acting.

I just hated to see the robber get killed in the end! I highly recommend this powerful movie to all classic movie buffs.
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