Remade in 1956 as Canyon River starring George Montgomery, this film has Wyoming rancher Jim Kirk (Bill Elliott) deciding to cross-breed his Texas longhorns with Herefords to develop what ...
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Remade in 1956 as Canyon River starring George Montgomery, this film has Wyoming rancher Jim Kirk (Bill Elliott) deciding to cross-breed his Texas longhorns with Herefords to develop what he hopes will be a heavier breed for meat stock. En route to Oregon to buy the Herefords, he takes his supposed-friend Andy (Myron Healey) with him, not knowing that Andy is part of a gang out to rob him. They are attacked by Indians, Jim saves the wounded-Andy's life, and leaves him at the home of Gail Robinson (Phyllis Coates) and her dad (I. Stanford Jolley) for medical attention. Jim buys the stock and and is on the homeward trek to Wyoming, accompanied by the still-plotting Andy, Gail and her father, and a crew of outlaws as his trail herders.Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
"Of all the Americans who have earned the right to be called 'self- made man,' the cattle rancher of the Great Plains is perhaps one of the most deserving of the title. After defending his precious herds for generations against marauding Indians, rustlers and the weather, the Plains cattleman, in the middle of the nineteenth century, found himself confronted by a new enemy, economics. The famed Texas longhorn, hardiest breed of cattle ever known gradually became almost worthless at the beef market. This situation drove hundreds of ranchers out of business; others hung on, powerless and desperate, hoping for a change. A few did something about it. This is the story of a man who did."
Wild Bill Elliott stars and Lewis Collins directs this brisk black and white Oater that crams as much old fashioned Western staples into the short running time as it can.
Plot simply has Elliott as a bastion of good morals and hard work who heads up a trail drive of cattle to cross breed so as to make a serious dent in the market. Hiring a bunch of criminals because they are the only ones he can trust! The drive is dominated by graft, grind and tough rules. Soon enough the camp becomes divided as a romance love triangle develops involving the gorgeous cook (Phyllis Coates) and the rufty tufty men are feeling miffed having to live on potato stew when there is so much beef around! Oh and there's a devious snake in Elliott's midst. The latter of which made obvious to us from the off.
In the 70 minute run time there are chases, shoot-outs, fist fights, an Indian attack and a stampede. This picture is never dull, it does feel more like a 1930s Western at times, more so because of Raoul Kraushaar's musical accompaniments, which quite frankly would be better served to The Keystone Cops! But there's an honesty about it that induces warmth, a willingness to entertain the early 1950s Western fans that earns it a pat on the back for effort. 6/10
Footnote: It would be remade in colour five years later as Canyon River.
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