Fugitive bank robber Joe Maybe steals the identity of a marshal and rides into a town whose judge asks Joe to act as town marshal but an old flame almost betrays his real identity forcing Joe to claim she's his wife.
A farmer, Zachary Hallock (Joel McCrea) & his son Joshua (Jimmy Hunt) try to establish new roots on their farm near a small western town victimized by outlaws. The merchants & ranchers form a vigilante group to oppose the constant threat to their families. They also try to recruit Hallock, but he refuses & instead secretly joins the outlaw band terrorizing the community. His son & new bride Sarah Jane Skaggs (Barbara Hale) don't understand why he has seemly decided to become an outlaw & has turned his back on everything & everyone most dear to him.Written by
Joel McCrea was seventeen years older than Barbara Hale. Hale was thirty-one at the time of release, which was rather old for a never-married woman in the old west. See more »
When the boy is driving the wagon and the men are shooting at it, in the shot from the rear it is clear an adult stuntman was used. The amount of his back seen is much higher above the rail than when the boy was shown driving the wagon. See more »
It may be a B-Western, but Universal popped for some of the best scenery (southwestern Colorado) found in any Western, A or B. I really liked the story's first part, dealing with topics seldom found in any oater—like raising money to buy a farm, horses, a wagon, plus making a home without a woman. In other words, elements of real frontier life too unexciting for most horse operas. But then the plot turns into more conventional cops and robbers, which is okay but hardly memorable.
Telling the story from the boy's point of view is a helpful touch—that way we understand the changes he and his dad are going through. Little Jimmy Hunt is excellent as young Joshua, looking like a real kid instead of a Hollywood charmer. And of course there's McCrea. No cowboy actor gave off an air of quiet nobility better than this underrated actor. Always low-key, he never swaggered like many of his peers or called undue attention to his character. Yet he could exert a quietly persuasive authority when necessary, made more effective by that low-key background. In my little book, he's one of the best of all cowboy actors.
Anyway, it's a good little Western distinguished by the stunning, well-photographed alpine scenery.
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