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.
Railroad surveyer Clay O'Mara goes after rustlers who murdered his father and brother. Along the way, he first arrests then teams up with outlaw Whitey Kincade, who helps Clay, only to see how long the tenderfoot lasts. Outwitting several attempts on his life engineered by the crooked lawyer who set up his family, O'Mara and a wounded Kincade face the gang. Kincade wanted to protect O'Mara and redeem himself, and goes down shooting.
This is a classic style western with Audie Murphy as the good guy seeking out the killers of his father and brother. Fortunately, he's got experience in the field of "troubleshooter", and can handle things better than the killers, the town's most respected men, think. They send him on suicide missions against the likes of wild cards Dan Duryea, the professor Russell Johnson, and Jack Elam, only to be stunned by Audie's survival against these odds.
In making this, you could see that all involved allowed Duryea's overwhelming persona to take control. And that was the key. A great work relies not only on the great persona, but also the others to be willing to work off of him. "Great actors are great reactors" is known well to the acting community. A pity that many of the plebes who post on IMDb will laud the wrong actor.
Anyone can play a sadist. The real actors are the ones who can react to the sadist, and let him come across with power. Anyone can shout "That ain't no country I ever heard of", but the real actor is the one who is willing to stutter "What?" over and over.
However, here, Duryea deserves his praise. He's not your cliché bad guy. He's Duryea, full of fun and laughter, and each film he manages to make the character a little different. Just saying that the others deserve respect, too, for their cooperation.
Full of thrills, the film seems to last only a few minutes. And that's the sign of a good director. You get your bang for the bullet here.
Plus the classic combo of Murphy and Duryea. The only thing more magical than that would be to add in Stewart with an accordion.
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