This is a mature , humourless Hollywood Western with Ford as the gunman turned sheriff attempting and inevitably failing to runaway from his past . It carries a surprising feeling of authenticity for a Western of this twilight period . The filmmaker is good at staging some action sequences , however is slow-moving and developed with dry sense of entertainment . The picture is produced in medium budget by Metro Goldwyn Mayer where the director Richard Thorpe spent 33 years in the same studio and he was to become the longest-servicing filmmaker in their story . In time he became known as the studio's ¨one take¨ because of his rapid shooting schedules . The flick relies heavily on tiring relationship between Glenn Ford and Angie Dickinson who plays a Saloon owner , formerly call-girl . There are good supporting portrayals from Gary Merrill as tough cardsharp , Royal Dano as drunk Indian chief and Jack Elam in his usual role as outlaw .
The picture is professionally directed by Richard Thorpe , though with no originality . Richard liked making escapist movies and many of them have rousing action scenes , handled with great confidence . He directed lesser Western and thrillers when he moved into features in 1924 and did little of note before joining MGM in 1935 . Thorpe made routine studio fare until 1950s when he was given more major assignment . He then made various big-budget productions financed by Pando S Bergman among his best known films are all the MGM Tarzans following his arrival at the studio in 1935 and a series of swashbuckling adventures in the early 1950s featuring Robert Taylor , the most successful of these were three swashbucklers made in England as ¨Knights of Round Table , Ivanhoe and Quentin Durward¨ . Thorpe was an expert on all kind of genres as Western as ¨Vengeance valley , Wild horse , Under Montana skies and Last challenge¨ but his specialty resulted to be adventures as ¨Prisoner of Zenda , The prodigal , Challenge to Lassie , Malaya , Tarzan's secret treasure ,Tarzan escapes , Tarzan finds a son¨ and Musicals as ¨Fun in Acapulco , Rainbow over Broadway , The prince student¨ and his biggest money-maker to date was ¨The great Caruso¨ and his last big box-office hit was ¨Presley' Jailhouse Rock¨ . He also worked briefly in television before retiring in 1968 , his last film was ¨The last challenge', also titled ¨The Pistolero of Red River ¨.