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.
On his way to hire a schoolteacher, a homesteader is left a hundred miles from anywhere when the train he is on is robbed. With him are an attractive dancehall girl and an untrustworthy gambler and he decides to get shelter nearby from outlaw relatives he used to run with. They don't trust him and he loathes them but they decide he can help them with one last bank job.Written by
Jeremy Perkins <email@example.com>
Early in the film, when Beasley, Billie Ellis, and Link Jones are left behind by the train after the robbery attempt, they stand on the railroad tracks debating what to do next. As they do so, the shadow of the boom mic is visible above their own shadows on the ground behind them. See more »
Tough gritty western that influenced the Spaghetti Western
There is a bit wrong with this film. Gary Cooper's age versus Lee Cobb's. The coincidental stranding of Julie London and Arthur O'Conell after the train robbery. The abrupt ending.
There is quite a bit not wrong also. The outdoor photography. The interior train scenes seem to have been entirely shot on a real train going down the tracks, not a set with rear projection. All the settings are real looking not Hollywood whitewash. Gary Cooper is low-key but builds his conflicted character well. The villains are among the nastiest one can see in pre-1960's westerns. They really lay the groundwork for the stock western psycho in later Spaghetti Westerns. Jack Lord plays a real maniac!
Mann's eye for visual composition really adds to the psychological atmosphere. You can see the influence on Leone and it seems like Leone imitated a couple of shots from this film. The set design for the town of Lasso could have been used in any Italian western.
A good, if depressing, alternate western.
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