In spite of the more-than-pedestrian B-title, this minor-A western from Universal is more of a character study of three people than it is a run-of-the-mill western. It has only a couple of gunshots and no killings and no blood-letting, and is ideally suited for the laconic, take-it-easy and laid-back nature of the always-great Joel McCrea as Del "Rock" Rockwell. Here, he is a man wise to the nature of women and horses, attemptiing to establish a homestead with the aid of his adopted-son Til (Race Gentry). They join neighboring rancher Alida Spain (Mari Blanchard) in her quest to capture a wild black stallion (Outlaw). Rockwell taunts her while the 20-year-old Til falls in love with her and she, of course, is falling in love with Rockwell. Neighboring rancher Jennings (Murvyn Vye) brings some conflict to the proceedings but nothing that Rockwell can't handle without the use of guns.Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
Due to an eye injury, Chill Wills who was originally cast as Doc Spain, had to relinquish the role to Irving Bacon. See more »
About an hour into the movie when three of the actors are chasing the black horse across a prairie, 2 tall radio towers can be seen in the distance quite distinctly. This movie predates radio and television by several decades. See more »
Although not one of his better known films I'm sure that Black Horse Canyon must have been a film near and dear to Joel McCrea's heart. In real life McCrea had eschewed Hollywood even though he was one of the few film stars actually born there. McCrea lived on a working ranch and in his spare time was a working cowboy. Nothing phony about this man in his westerns. I've no doubt he broke horses there as long as age permitted.
McCrea and his young partner Race Gentry are after a wild black stallion who keeps driving off their stock to increase his herd. Among horses he's Rob Lowe in his Brat Pack days and the mares just line up for him. But Mari Blanchard of the neighboring ranch wants him too and she's got more of a right. She owned him and everyone knows it way back when the horse was a colt and went wild.
Still another party is Murvyn Vye who owns another ranch and he either wants to tame him or kill him. He's a mean guy as only Murvyn Vye can be mean.
Besides capturing the stallion there's a rivalry of sorts for Blanchard between McCrea and his young partner. Of course it all works out in the end.
Nice color outdoor cinematography and a real western feel characterize Black Horse Canyon. Joel McCrea's will appreciate it as no doubt McCrea did back in the day.
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