During the Rif War in Morocco, the French Foreign Legion's outpost of Tarfa is threatened by Khalif Hussein's tribes but Sergeant Mike Kincaid devises a plan of survival until the arrival of French reinforcements.
While passing through the town of Bannock, a bunch of drunken, trail-weary cattlemen go overboard with their celebrating and accidentally kill an old man with a stray shot. They return home to Sabbath unaware of his death. Bannock lawman Jered Maddox later arrives there to arrest everyone involved on a charge of murder. Sabbath is run by land baron Vince Bronson, a benevolent despot, who, upon hearing of the death, offers restitution for the incident. Maddox, however, will not compromise even though small ranchers like Vern Adams are not in a position to desert their responsibilities for a long and protracted trial. Sabbath's marshal, Cotton Ryan, is an aging lawman whose tough reputation rests on a single incident that occurred years before. Ryan admits to being only a shadow of what he once was and incapable of stopping Maddox. Maddox confides to Ryan that Bannock's judicial system is weak and corrupt, and while he's doubtful that anyone he brings back will suffer more than the ...Written by
By68 Burt Lancaster was 58 when he appeared in this movie See more »
When Maddox (Burt Lancaster) shoots the horse out from under Vernon Adams (Robert Duvall), the man who is thrown from the falling horse has a full head of hair, and is clearly a stunt double. Robert Duvall was totally bald on top in this movie. The stuntman even tries to hide the fact by placing his hand right on top of his head as he comes up, but the full head of hair is still visible. See more »
Towards the end of Lawman, Burt Lancaster says that the towns are getting fewer and fewer who need his kind of services. I guess that's a comment on civilization's leavening influence.
You're a town marshal in the old west. You're doing the job alone, maybe you have a deputy or two. Burt says you got to stick to the rules, but as we see in Lawman he wings it quite a bit.
Lee J. Cobb and some of his employees and retainers from his town of Sabbath shoot up Burt Lancaster's town of Bannock and one of Bannock's citizens is killed. Lancaster trails them to Sabbath and arrives with one of them slung over a pack horse. He gives the names to Sabbath's Sheriff Robert Ryan and the story begins.
Lancaster finds that the men he's trailing are all kinds, some professional gunmen, some family men caught up in the moment. Makes no matter to him, he's bringing them in. One of them is the common law husband of a former girl friend, Sheree North, who's settled in Sabbath.
Lawman is a pretty grim western tale. It's kind of a cross between Edward Dmytryk's Warlock and Clint Eastwood's The Unforgiven. Themes from both of those films can be found here.
Lancaster gets good support from the cast. I particularly liked J.D. Cannon as Sheree North's husband and Richard Jordan as the young cowhand from Lee J. Cobb's spread.
I think more than western fans will appreciate this film.
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