Having eluded a posse, a wanted man rescues a woman and her young son from a Comanche attack. He then escorts them to the presumed safety of a U.S. Cavalry fort. Trouble develops along the way when the woman comes to believe that her rescuer was responsible for the recent death of her husband.Written by
dinky-4 of Minneapolis
The repeating Henry rifles brought to the fort just in time are not loaded, but when they are passed up to the men defending the fort atop its walls along with boxes of ammunition, the men begin shooting them immediately, before they are loaded. See more »
Fugitive Gar Davis (Walker) flees from posse across hostile Comanche territory with woman and small boy (Mayo & Eyer), and encounters old foe, the gun-running Clett (Keith).
Fine eyeful of parched southwestern scenery—I counted only one interior (the "hospital" scene) for the entire movie. Sure, Big Clint (not Eastwood) has only one "Yes, ma'm, No, ma'm" demeanor for every scene, but that's okay, even if he didn't get to be the next Gary Cooper.
Putting old-pro Gordon Douglas in charge was a shrewd move. Note the stages the awakening Mayo goes through in discovering that, yes, Walker has stripped off her wet clothes. Note too how Douglas gets that infernal glint in Mayo's eyes when she first suspects Clint of murdering her husband—it's almost scary. I also like the way the Indians are credited with some military sense when overturning the wagons to make shooters' barricades. Most important, Douglas knows how to integrate the picturesque terrain into the storyline—catch that great framing of the Walker-Keith shoot-out.
Fortunately, Warners got Burt Kennedy to do the script— and on the eve of his outstanding work with the Boetticher-Scott ,(Ranown), cycle of Westerns. I suspect Bryan Keith's charming villain was Kennedy's inspiration since likable baddies was a standard Ranown feature. Yes indeed, Keith steals the show with his easy-going charm—a real contrast to the uptight Walker. At this early stage, Keith was an interesting actor, best at squinty-eyed cowpokes as Sam Peckinpah knew when casting him as lead in Peckinpah's brilliant but short-lived TV series The Westerner (1960).
The movie itself may have been a hurry-up job—probably that's why there's no Technicolor despite the great scenery, and probably why we get a recycled plot line from Hondo (1953). I guess the hurry-up was to take advantage of Walker's TV popularity. Still, the movie's a very watchable action-filled adventure. What's more, I don't care if the luscious Mayo was pushing 40, she could put her saddle on my horse any day.
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