A dissatisfied ranch hand becomes a bounty hunter. He conspires with a crooked town boss to dirty up a neighboring village where a valuable railroad franchise is headed, in order to divert ... See full summary »
In the 1960s, producer A.C. Lyles made a long string of low-budget westerns featuring stars well past their peak. Because these folks and the supporting actors were so old, the films were sometimes a bit silly and I've heard a couple folks (including me) referring to them as 'Geezer westerns'. Compared to many of his film, "Stage to Thunder Rock" isn't all that old--as the leading man (Barry Sullivan) is only 52--making him practically a teenager in A.C. Lyles' world! As for the rest of the cast, several Lyles veterans appear in this one including Lon Chaney Junior (who is in just about every Lyles film from the 60s), John Agar, Robert Strauss, Allan Jones, Scott Brady, Marilyn Maxwell and Keenan Wynn--all folks were had seen better days in their careers. The average age of these folks...probably about 55 or more! Despite the budget and advanced ages, however, most of these Lyles films are better than you'd expect. Would "Stage to Thunder Rock" also manage to be a decent film?
Sullivan plays an aging (what else?) sheriff whose final job involves bringing two robbers to justice. The catch--their father raised Sullivan (which is funny considering that Keenan Wynn played the father and he was about Sullivan's age). Along the way, he meets up with two different groups of folks who want to take his prisoner and collect the reward--maybe even if it involves killing the sheriff. For the most part, this is a very slow and meandering plot--one that seldom is involving or very interesting. The best of the characters is probably the one played by Chaney--the rest seem a bit more like caricatures than real people (such as Maxwell who plays the clichéd prostitute who wants to reform). All in all, not a terrible movie but certainly among Lyles' least successful westerns.
By the way, Mr. and Mrs. Swope's daughter, Sandy, was played by Morgan Brittany--and it's interesting to see this very pretty lady when she was just a kid.
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