Ignored & Forgotten, Brutal but Intellectual Exercise Oddball Western
Off Center, Obscure B-Western with Intelligent Intricacies Not usually Found in the Glut of Westerns before Anthony Mann and Budd Boetticher got Hold of the Reins. It is Full of Wordy and Philosophical Exchanges among a Cast of severely Flawed Characters.
The Evil Personified Raymond Massey, Brutal, Tyrannical, and Sadistic Oversees a Man Made Hell of a Mining Camp and Spouts Things like if He Meets the Devil, They will Get Along just Fine.
Dane Clark is the Closest thing to a Hero but is On the Run from the Law, as is Ruth Roman, the Only Female Character that spends Half the Film on Her Back (due to a violent stagecoach crash).
There is an Alcoholic Bible-Thumping Judge, and an Undersized Motor Mouth that clearly has a lot of Issues. Robert Douglas as Massey's Counterpart, a Lawyer that is also Hobbled from the Crash and Matches Wits with the Dictatorial Massey is Comfortably Contrasted.
Also, surprisingly, the Movie is Filmed in Color and that is really the only Bright Thing in this Cynical, Under-Seen, little Gem. Dark with a High-Brow Script, the major Disappointment is the Gunfight Finale that Cuts away in Midstream and almost Looks like They just ran Out of Money (it is absurdly abrupt).
Overall, a Western that has been Ignored and Forgotten but it really is Something Special, Different, and a Refreshing Cerebral Change from Genre Tropes, Especially Early in 1950.
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