When the South loses the war, Confederate veteran O'Meara goes West, joins the Sioux, takes a wife and refuses to be an American but he must choose a side when the Sioux go to war against the U.S. Army.
Blaise Starrett is a rancher at odds with homesteaders when outlaws hold up the small town. The outlaws are held in check only by their notorious leader, but he is diagnosed with a fatal wound and the town is a powder keg waiting to blow.
The Globe is a small, but visionary newspaper started by Phineas Mitchell, an editor recently fired by The Star. The two newspapers become enemies, and the Star's ruthless heiress Charity Hackett decides to eliminate the competition.
An authoritarian rancher, Barbara Stanwyck, who rules an Arizona county with her private posse of hired guns. When a new marshall arrives to set things straight, the cattle queen finds herself falling, brutally for the avowedly non-violent lawman. Both have itchy-fingered brothers, a female gunmaker enters the picture, and things go desperately wrong.Written by
Condemned in the US because of its brutal handling of the narrative, but praised in Europe for its stylistic vigor. See more »
When the gunsmith is fitting Wes for a new rifle, she had him holding the stock from a model 1898 Mauser which would not have been invented for another 20 years. Then Wes also picks up a Winchester barreled action and looks through it to see the lady gunsmith, which is not possible due to there being no straight line of sight through the action. See more »
Sam Fuller actually made a good number of westerns in his early career, and thanks to DVD we are finally able to see these at home just in these past few years. I can't say how long I was looking for "Baron of Arizona." Pleased to say that this one is just as ambitious and fulfilling as the other two that I've seen, "Baron" and "I Shot Jesse James." Barbara Stanwyck is welcome in ANY western film as far as I'm concerned, and Barry Sullivan's "long walk" is the most stylish you'll ever see. Dean Jagger provides his usual characterization of a conflicted and compromised noble man.
Fuller centers the film around a few key scenes, specific confrontations that define the rest of the action surrounding them. His sense of style in terms of the characters and their interactions with their surroundings is impressive. For instance the scene with the man who's supposed to trick Griff into an ambush -- we really get to know that character and sense his fear just in a short time. I love how he and his actors make use of accidents and physical limitations of the sets. For instance there's a bit where Sullivan is running towards the action and a tumbleweed comes across his path, and he leaps across it in a really stylish way. In some circumstances that could have become a ruined take, but Fuller obviously has his actor so much into the spirit of the scene that he basically reacts in character. You can sense Fuller's ability to focus his actors that way hanging over both the action and dialog scenes.
I'd have to see the film again to really say much about its theme or its subject, but it seems to be in the classic mold of westerns about the end of the "Old West." Stanwyck and Sullivan represent different types of iconic western presence that will depart from the world forever with that ending.
The conclusion of the film is a bit underwhelming, but other than that I really have no complaints about this film. It's fine western entertainment from the closing days of the western about the closing days of the west.
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