Home from the Civil War, young Neal Hammond is happy to return to Texas ranching, but brother Dan wants more. His attempt to enter business is thwarted when carpetbagger Cord Hardin beats and humiliates him in a poker game. So Dan forms a rustling gang and parlays his ill-gotten gains into a land empire. But among the growing opposition to his gang is the new Marshal of Austin...brother Neal.Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
"Horizons West" is the kind of unpretentious, fast-paced Technicolor western that Universal-International churned out in the 1950s. The pared-down narrative combined with tight cutting ensures that the movie proceeds briskly even though "Horizons West" was directed without any dramatic intensity. The basic narrative material could have been stretched out to 120 minutes or more, but director Budd Boetticher and editor Ted Kent brought the film in at less than 85 minutes.
Dan Hammond (Robert Ryan), his brother Neil (Rock Hudson) and their ranch colleague Tiny (James Arness) return to Texas from the Civil War. Neil and Tiny are content to return to their previous way of life, but Dan has much bigger ideas. He recruits a gang of army deserters and rustles cattle in a big way. He is very successful and expands into land grabbing and claim jumping. Soon money and success go to his head, and hubris clouds his judgement. Eventually his loyal and loving family turn against him and take it upon themselves to bring him down.
Robert Ryan was always a good, unshowy actor, and he brings out the many sides of Dan Hammond very well. John McIntire, another reliable actor, is also very good as the simple, unambitious father. Julia Adams for once is not given a peaches and cream part, and she too is successful at showing the different aspects of her character. Rock Hudson and Dennis Weaver are still at the beginnings of their careers, and their inexperience and lack of screen presence shows. As was so often the case in those days, Raymond Burr plays an unpleasant character and really makes the audience dislike him.
"Horizons West" is a very minor film and is unlikely to make it onto DVD, but if it appears on television, it is well worth watching.
UPDATE: A Region 2 DVD of this movie will be issued in France in November, 2008. It will have the original English language soundtrack with French subtitles.
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