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Tuesday, July 21, 2009


This early Budd Boetticher ‘Oater’ may lack the distinctive tone & look he’d develop in the chamber Westerns he'd soon make with Randolph Scott, but it’s very good on its own terms. Glenn Ford is near his best as a taciturn Texan who’s been branded a coward for running away from a martyr’s death at The Alamo. The truth is he left honorably to check on the threatened families of his unit, but he’d just as soon die as explain himself. He purposefully falls in with the gang that killed his family and manages to save a whole town and destroy the gang with the help of his surrogate son, a loyal Mexican boy from his homestead. The action sequences are remarkably clear, the acting restrained but forceful (though all the women are Max Factor’d to death) and Boetticher keeps us off balance by making the good townspeople the scariest gang in the story, a lynch mob eager for victims guilty or no.

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