Wednesday, 26 March 2008


This film is one of the series of Westerns that director Budd Boetticher made with star Randolph Scott and producer Harry Joe Brown, Although it doesn’t seem to have garnered quite as much attention as other titles such as RIDE LONESOME, THE TALL T and BUCHANAN RIDES ALONE it proves to be equally fascinating. The plot is standard B-movie stuff. A stranger rides into town looking for the man he blames for the death of his wife. Boetticher takes this simple premise and stands it on its head. Randolph Scott is excellent as usual as the bitter stranger out to revenge his dead wife. But what, at first, seems like steely determination is soon revealed as psychotic. The villain (played by the excellent John Carroll) actually seems quite likeable and beyond being told that he runs the town we never really see him doing the things Western bad guys do. When we first meet him he is preparing to marry a local big wig’s daughter. We find out later that Scott’s dead wife wasn’t as pure as Scott makes out and, significantly, we learn this from his best buddy (Noah Beery Jr) who eventually walks out on him because he won’t face the truth. Beery gets gunned down by the local sheriff who in turn is gunned down by Scott who then goes on to face Carroll himself in what at first seems like a traditional climatic gunfight but turns out to be far from it. At the climax Carroll drives of in a buggy with the girl who loves him (something usually reserved for the hero) and Scott rides out of town on his horse, still a bitter man who refuses to face the truth. It’s a fascinating movie which subverts the conventions of its genre. Rating ***

1 comment:

Cerpts said...

I've never seen any of the Boetticher/Randolph Scott westerns other than what Martin Scorsese featured in his superb documentary on American films. However, everything you've said about them intrigues me even more. I'm gonna have to take a peek and see if I can pick any of them up on DVD now.