Monogram Pictures changed its name to Allied Artists in an effort to change its image from that of a cheap B-studio. For the most part, it didn't really work. Allied Artists' product suffered from the same deficiencies that Monogram's did: shoddy production values, lesser talent--both in front of and behind the cameras--and a lack of originality in its stories. This film, however, does not fall into that mold. While the story--survivors of an Indian attack make their way across the desert to safety--may seem trite, what is done with it isn't. Director Harold D. Schuster, a former editor, is hardly a household name, but he has made several tight little B pictures (1954's "Loophole" is a first-rate film-noir thriller about a bank teller framed for a robbery), and this is one of them. Dennis O'Keefe does a very good job as a cavalry officer who survives an Indian attack, and must lead a disparate group to safety across the desert. They come across a group of traders who aren't exactly what they seem to be, and must band together with them for mutual protection. Jack Elam plays a gunfighter who isn't quite what he seems to be, either. There's a good musical score, Schuster handles the action scenes quite well, and there are some interesting plot twists. Altogether, a well-paced, intriguing little western, highly recommended.
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