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>
Gary Cooper was, at 56, a decade older than Lee J. Cobb who played his "Uncle" Dock Tobin. Even with heavy makeup, it is generally agreed that Cobb still looked younger than Cooper, and Cooper was actually about 20 years older than his character was supposed to be. In addition, Cooper and John Dehner talk about being children together, but Dehner was actually 14 years younger than Cooper. See more »
God forgive us, we painted the wall with blood that time. Oh, ha-ha-ha, walked out of that bank with 11,000 dollars. Just, you and me. Ha-ha. Claude, riding behind us. And we murdered old Ben Skull together. You held him and I took off the top of his head. Ohhh, 7000 dollars. We were BIG! Don't you remember?
You were my property. Why did you go off and leave me for?
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Stranded in the middle of nowhere after their train is robbed, a former outlaw, a schoolteacher and a gambler take refuge with the gang that the former outlaw once belonged to in this dark western drama. Taking refuge does not come easy to the once-outlaw, played by Gary Cooper, as he has to pretend to still be a tough lawbreaker despite reforming his ways, and there is a lot of tension in the air as the gang members are equally as uneasy about his return. The plot actually has a lot in common with David Cronenberg's 'A History of Violence' with Cooper having to face the violent past that he thought he left behind. Cooper never quite seems right in the role though; aside from being two decades older than his character, it is hard to ever imagine Cooper once being a hardened outlaw. As a character, he is not as well developed as Viggo Mortensen in 'A History of Violence' either with the train robbery happening before we even have a chance to know him. The film is also set back by a melodramatic music score from Leigh Harline that comes off as overbearing half the time. The film does have its moments though. The long distance shots of Cooper entering the supposedly abandoned cabin are great, capturing the eerie isolation of the place. The scene in which Julie London is told to strip at knife point is nail-bitingly intense too, and while he looks too young to really be Cooper's uncle, Lee J. Cobb is delightful in the role, radiating both danger and a sense of longing, wanting so much to reconnect with the outlaw nephew he thought he lost forever.
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