Tag Archives: Dorothy Malone

Tension at Table Rock

Nicholas Chennault ~ August 15, 2014

Tension at Table Rock—Richard Egan, Dorothy Malone, Cameron Mitchell, Angie Dickinson, Royal Dano, DeForest Kelley, Billy Chapin, John Dehner, Edward Andrews (1956; Dir: Charles Marquis Warren)

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This is basically a bad-guy-goes-straight western, with overtones of the search for family and 1950s lawman-and-community tension.  Deep-voiced Richard Egan (his voice is reminiscent of Clint Walker’s) was never a big star, but he does well as the lead in this small western with an excellent and well-chosen supporting cast.  And it has an unusual and effective poster.

Wes Tancred (Richard Egan) has followed outlaw leader Sam Murdock (Paul Richards) since they both rode with Quantrill during the Civil War.  But when Murdock gratuitously kills a wounded gang member while fleeing a posse, Tancred decides to pull out.  Murdock’s girlfriend (a young Angie Dickinson in a very brief role) has a thing for Tancred and pours oil on the distrust between the two as Tancred tries to leave.  They shoot it out just as the posse arrives, and the girl tells them Tancred shot Murdock in the back.  However, he receives a complete pardon and even the reward for Murdock, which he spurns.

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Tancred (Richard Egan) and Murdock’s girl (a young Angie Dickinson).

Now wherever he goes he hears “The Ballad of Wes Tancred,” referring to him as a cowardly backshooter.  He keeps moving and is at a stagecoach outpost when three robbers try to take a stage.  The caretaker tries to break it up and is killed, but Tancred, now going by the name John Bailey, gets the three and agrees to take the caretaker’s young son Jody (Billy Chapin) to his uncle, the sheriff in Table Rock.

The tension in Table Rock is because a herd from Texas is about to arrive, and the sheriff (Cameron Mitchell) is nervous about his ability to control the cowhands.  He was badly beaten and physically and psychologically scarred in an earlier incident, and has lost his confidence.  Tancred/Bailey understands because he has his own scars.  He helps Jody get a job with the local newspaper editor Harry Jameson (Royal Dano), who is vocal about keeping law and order.  Kirk (Edward Andrews), owner of the biggest saloon, welcomes the cowhands, whatever it takes.  The sheriff’s wife is loyal to him but shows signs of being attracted to Tancred/Bailey.

When big rancher Hampton (John Dehner) brings in his herd with fifty trail hands, he drives it across the land of a local farmer, destroying fences and crops (for which he is willing to pay, but he gives no choice).  The hands are mostly just barely under control, but that night one of them shoots the farmer and puts a gun in the farmer’s hand to make it look like self-defense.  The sheriff and Tancred/Bailey are witnesses, though.  In court the next day, the sheriff tries to back out, but Tancred/Bailey testifies straight, including his real name.  It’s a turning point for both Tancred and the sheriff.  Hampton threatens to come back the next day and get his man, and Kirk arranges for a gunfighter to take out the sheriff.

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Tancred (Richard Egan) is attracted to the sheriff’s wife (Dorothy Malone); bad guys abound.

Gunfighter Jim Breck (DeForest Kelley) arrives the next day and turns out to be an old friend of Tancred.  Tancred asks him not to call out the sheriff, and it looks like he might accede.  But Kirk’s $2000 is too much for Breck, and Tancred and Breck have a classic showdown in the street.  Tancred wins, and Kirk is about to shoot him in the back when the sheriff takes down Kirk.  When Hampton and his fifty men ride in, they face the sheriff and Tancred—and the town’s populace with guns from the windows.  And Tancred leaves town so as not to threaten the sheriff’s marriage.

It sounds like a standard western tale from the 1950s, but the execution of it is better than average, even though it was from bargain studio RKO.  Egan, Mitchell, Chapin, Dano, Dehner, Kelley and Edwards are all good; Dorothy Malone is also good but is largely wasted in a small part here.  Kelley was in several westerns about this time, usually as some form of bad guy (The Law and Jake Wade, Warlock), as he bounced back and forth between movies and television before finding his greatest fame in Star Trek.  The development of the moral crises of Tancred and the sheriff is nicely done.  The story is slightly understated but mostly convincing.  This is better than you’d expect from the relative lack of star power and low budget.

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Charles Marquis Warren was a screenwriter, director and producer who made ten low-profile westerns as a director in the 1950s.  His best were probably this and Trooper Hook (1957), with Joel McCrea.  He even directed Charro!, Elvis Presley’s western in 1969.  The screenwriter here was Winston Miller, based on a story by western writer Frank Gruber, with music by Dimitri Tiomkin.  In color, at 93 minutes.

For a similarly good story about a man on the run who rides into town under an assumed name and comes to the aid of a beleaguered sheriff, see Face of a Fugitive, with Fred MacMurray (1959).

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Tall Man Riding

Nicholas Chennault ~ August 6, 2014

Tall Man Riding—Randolph Scott, Dorothy McGuire, Peggie Castle, John Dehner, Robert Barrat, John Baragrey, William Ching, Paul Richards (1955; Dir: Lesley Selander)

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Made about the same time as the first of the Bud Boetticher-Ranown westerns, this stars Randolph Scott as Larry Madden returning to Montana.  Madden, a one-time small rancher, is returning not only to Montana but to the valley from which he had earlier been driven out by Tuck Ordway (Robert Barrat), owner of the Warbonnet Ranch, the largest spread in the valley, for daring to romance Ordway’s daughter Corinna (Dorothy Malone).  His back still bears the whip scars from that occasion.

On riding into the valley Madden rescues a well-dressed man being pursued by three gunmen.  Only when the rescue is complete does he discover that the rescued man (William Ching) is the husband Corinna has acquired since Madden’s departure five years before.  Riding on into town, Madden ventures into the saloon owned by Cibo Pearlo (John Baragrey; his character claims to be “pure Castilian”).  Pearlo received the same treatment from Ordway as Madden, but Madden doesn’t like him any better than he likes Ordway.  Pearlo’s girlfriend Reva (Peggie Castle) is the singer in the saloon and a friend of Corinna.

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Madden (Randolph Scott) calls out the Peso Kid (Paul Richards).

By the end, Corinna’s husband has been killed, as has Reva (probably), Pearlo and Madden’s corrupt lawyer Luddington (John Dehner), as well as Pearlo’s Mexican gunman the Peso Kid.  Ordway’s land titles are invalid, and there’s a land rush onto what used to be his ranch.  The implication is that Madden and Corinna will get together again, although (a) she hasn’t been a widow long, (b) she’s spent most of the movie hating him, (c) there’s still bad blood with her family, and (d) Reva would be a better match for him if she’s still alive.

This is kind of an average western for Scott in non-Boetticher material.  This has some clunky writing, a contrived plot and uncertain relationship motivations, but it does have Randolph Scott, Dorothy Malone and John Dehner.  Scott is also riding his beautiful dark palomino Stardust, who shows up in many Scott movies from this period, much like James Stewart’s horse Pie does in the Anthony Mann westerns.  This was directed by prolific journeyman director Lesley Selander, although it’s better than some of his other work.  In color, 83 minutes.  The Montana landscape here looks a lot like California.

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At Gunpoint

Nicholas Chennault ~ May 3, 2014

At Gunpoint—Fred MacMurray, Dorothy Malone, Walter Brennan, Skip Homeier, Tommy Rettig (1955; Dir:  Alfred L. Werker)

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A variation on the High Noon theme, which was made two or three years earlier than this movie.  Peace-loving storekeeper Jack Wright (Fred MacMurray) kills the leader of an outlaw gang by a stroke of luck while they’re trying to rob the local bank.  Hailed as a hero, Wright realizes deep down that he’s a coward, and, more obviously, he’s not really any good with a gun.  When the surviving gunmen return to town, thirsting for revenge, the townsfolk expect Wright to singlehandedly stand up to the villains. When he asks for help, his neighbors turn their backs on him, ordering him to get out of town to avoid further trouble. Only the doctor (Walter Brennan) and Wright’s wife (Dorothy Malone) remain loyal.  Ultimately, Wright finds that he may not be as cowardly as he had thought.  After Wright gives a stirring speech in a saloon, the townspeople do come to his aid and the gang is captured. 

This is different from High Noon in that the man in danger has not deliberately taken that risk—he’s not a marshal or sheriff—and because eventually the town does stick up for him.  Kind of talky.  Good performance by MacMurray; his son is played by Tommy Rettig, who went on to star in Delmer Daves’ The Last Wagon and in television’s Lassie.  The crusty but beloved town doctor (Walter Brennan) is essentially the same character as John McIntire in The Tin Star.

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This is one of those 1950s westerns dwelling on the interaction between a town and its sheriff, the nature of community and the kind of support a sheriff should expect from those he protects.  The most famous is High Noon, but see also The Tin Star, Warlock and Rio Bravo, as well as the later Lawman.  This also bears some resemblance to The Fastest Gun Alive a couple of years later; the difference is that Glenn Ford in Fastest Gun is good with a gun but doesn’t want to use it.  The cowardly townspeople were becoming a cliché by the time this movie was made.  Another comparison might be with 1967’s Hombre, in which Paul Newman has been rejected by others for living as an Apache.  He clearly owes them nothing, but nevertheless comes to their aid against his own inclinations simply because he is the one best suited to do so.   In color, at 81 minutes.

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Warlock

Nicholas Chennault ~ April 2, 2014

Warlock—Henry Fonda, Richard Widmark, Anthony Quinn, Dorothy Malone, Dolores Michaels, DeForest Kelley, Tom Drake, Frank Gorshin (1959; Dir:  Edward Dmytryk)

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This excellent psychological western feels overstuffed, with a little too much plot and more good actors than it quite knows what to do with. It has two competing town tamers, one legitimate and the other less so, a Doc Holliday-character with a spotted history, a scarlet woman (often really dressed in scarlet), a wealthy if inexperienced young mining heiress, and a Clanton-esque gang of cowboy-outlaws, all coming together in one town where the law is not working.

Warlock is a mining and ranching town in Utah, but so remote that the county sheriff seldom makes an appearance.  There is a town marshal of sorts, but the opening scene shows him getting run out of town by Abe McQuown (McEwen?  McCune?  Played by Tom Drake), head of the San Pablo ranching crowd.  He’s presumably a rancher, but of the Ike Clanton sort—given to various forms of crime (rustling, stage robbery) and intimidation of the town.  His men, including Johnny Gannon (Richard Widmark), his brother Billy (Frank Gorshin, uncredited) and Curley Burne (DeForest Kelley), appear to be a bunch of thugs and back-shooters.

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The local citizens send for gunman Clay Blaisdell (Henry Fonda) from Fort James, a sort of marshal-for-hire.  He brings with him Tom Morgan (Anthony Quinn), a gambler-gunman with a clubfoot, who sets up his own saloon-casino (calling it “The French Palace,” a sign they have brought with them) and who keeps off the backshooters.  Blaisdell has pleasant manners but few illusions about the cycle of civic support and distaste he can expect.  “I’m a simple man, handy with Colts,” of which he has a gold-handled pair that he only uses for Sunday best.  He gets paid a lot for his skills ($400 a month), but he expects his sojourn in Warlock will be brief.  The citizenry will soon have second thoughts about the gunman they have brought in to impose law in their town.  Blaisdell wastes no time in confronting the San Pablo gang, which he initially does effectively but without bloodshed.

Johnny Gannon appears to be having second thoughts about his participation in the San Pablo gang as well.  Lily Dollar (Dorothy Malone), a former saloon girl with a past relationship with Morgan, shows up.  She was bringing a brother of Ben Nicholson, whom Blaisdell had once killed.  She seems to be trying to get back at Morgan, and thinks killing Blaisdell may be the quickest way to do that.  However, the brother is killed by Tom Morgan with a rifle during an attempted stage holdup by the San Pablo gang.  Two of the San Pablo men (including brother Billy Gannon) are arrested and Blaisdell saves them from being lynched.  They are ultimately let go in a legal proceeding in the county seat, Bright City, by a jury intimidated by McQuown.  The distant sheriff visits, doesn’t like Blaisdell’s presence, and points out to the crowd that none of them will take the deputy sheriff’s job.  But Johnny Gannon does, which sets his new authority in potential opposition to Blaisdell’s.

Meanwhile, Blaisdell quickly develops a relationship with young mining heiress Jessie Marlow (Dolores Michaels) and begins to think about marrying her and putting down roots.  Johnny Gannon forms a relationship with Lily Dollar.  Tom Morgan would prefer that neither of these happen; he wants Blaisdell to think of moving on to the next town, Porfiry City. 

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Blaisdell to new deputy sheriff Johnny Gannon:  “I remember when I first killed a man. It was clear and had to be done.  Well, I went home afterward and puked my insides out.  I remember how clear it was.  Afterwards, nothing was ever clear again.  Except for one thing.  That’s to hold strictly to the rules.  It’s only the rules that matter.  Hold onto ’em like you were walking on eggs.  So you know yourself you’ve played it as fair and as best you could.  But there are things to watch for … in yourself.  Don’t be too fast.  When there are people after you, you know it and you worry it.  Then you think, ‘If I don’t get drawn first and then kill first–.’  You know what I mean?”

Blaisdell has posted the San Pablo gang, meaning that they can’t enter town without an armed confrontation with Blaisdell.  Brother Billy Gannon and another come into town in defiance of that posting.  Gannon tells Billy, “I ain’t backin’ him, because you’re my brother, and I ain’t backin’ you, because you’re wrong.”  Blaisdell, with a slight deference to Gannon, tries not to kill Billy but is left with no choice.  Gannon, thinking to avoid further such bloodshed, goes to the San Pablo ranch to dissuade them from coming to town.  They beat him up, and Abe McQuown puts a knife through his right (gun) hand. 

When the gang comes in force, Lily begs Blaisdell to help Gannon.  He’s willing, but Gannon insists that it’s his duty alone.  He tries to help anyway, but Tom Morgan holds him out with a gun, revealing the truth about the Nicholson brothers and their deaths.  When Gannon confronts the gang, one of them, Curly, unexpectedly keeps off the backshooters and the wounded Gannon is even more unexpectedly successful with the help of a few of the townsfolk.  But he’s not done.

Tom Morgan doesn’t like the way things have gone, with Gannon having become the local hero, and has been drinking heavily.  He tries to push Gannon into a shootout.  Blaisdell intervenes now, locking Gannon in one of his own cells and killing Morgan, going slightly crazy.  Gannon then orders Blaisdell out of town, and Blaisdell says he won’t go, setting up yet another confrontation the next morning.

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As Blaisdell walks down the street the next morning, he’s wearing the gold-handled Colts.  Gannon’s wounded hand doesn’t work very well, and Blaisdell outdraws him easily with his right hand.  Then he throws the gun in the dirt.  He outdraws him again with his left hand, and throws that Colt in the dirt, too.  He gets on his horse and rides out of town, seemingly leaving Jessie behind.

This is black-listed director Edward Dmytryk’s best western, and it put him back in the directing mainstream.  Richard Widmark has top billing, but Henry Fonda has the dominant character.  Anthony Quinn is excellent, and so is Dorothy Malone.  Tom Drake and DeForest Kelley are both very good in smaller roles.  Dolores Michaels is adequate but mostly forgettable.  Based on a very good novel by Oakley Hall, the story brings with it echoes of the Wyatt Earp story and of Fonda as mentor to an inexperienced lawman, as in Anthony Mann’s The Tin Star two years previously.  It has a memorably articulate screenplay by Robert Alan Aurthur.  Leigh Harline, who had won Academy Awards for Pinocchio (1940) and done the music for Broken Lance, among many others, provided an excellent score.  Shot in color around Moab, Utah, and on the 20th Century Fox lot.

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This is another of those 1950s westerns that makes a point about about how townspeople are uneasy with those they hire to enforce the law and with the violence used to do it (e.g., High Noon, The Tin Star).  But it has a lot of other things going on, too.  It moves right along and could probably have been a bit longer, to wrap up some of the plot’s loose ends.

Dorothy Malone was in several good westerns, from Colorado Territory to Quantez to The Last Sunset.  DeForest Kelly showed up as a gang member in other films, like The Law and Jake Wade and Tension at Table Rock, and this is one of his best.  Richard Widmark and Henry Fonda were at the peaks of their careers in westerns, although they would continue to make more through the 1960s, with Fonda moving into a couple of memorable spaghetti westerns (Once Upon a Time in the West, My Name is Nobody) around 1970.  Anthony Quinn, who was always good in westerns (The Ride Back, Man from Del Rio, Last Train from Gun Hill), did not make many more, moving more into ethnic roles in big movies (The Guns of Navarone, Zorba the Greek, Lawrence of Arabia).  Silent film star Richard Arlen has a small supporting role.

 

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Quantez

Nicholas Chennault ~ February 8, 2014

Quantez—Fred MacMurray, Dorothy Malone, John Gavin, John Larch, Sydney Chaplin, Michael Ansara, James Barton (1957; Dir: Harry Keller)

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Talkative, melodramatic western with a small cast.  This is one of Fred MacMurray’s better westerns, and worth watching.  The title refers to a ghost town in which a small gang of outlaws finds itself after a robbery.

The band of outlaws is retreating across the desert toward Mexico, on the run from a posse after robbing a bank.  They haven’t been together long, just put together by the ruthless Heller (John Larch) for this job.  They include Chaney (Dorothy Malone), Heller’s woman; Gentry (Fred McMurray), an experienced desert scout; Gato (Sydney Chaplin), a white man raised by Apaches; and Teach (John Gavin), a young easterner good with a gun. 

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After eluding the posse in Apache country, they come to Quantez one horse short, only to find it abandoned.  The action and a lot of dialogue take place over one night as they try to sort out their differing loyalties and objectives.  Heller, as it turns out, is willing to leave Chaney behind.  Gentry keeps trying to make things work, getting both Heller and Teach to back off in turn.  As matters develop, both Teach and Gentry seem to be interested in Chaney, setting up another potential conflict. 

Itinerant artist Puritan (a contrived-seeming name, played by James Barton) rides into the ghost town, singing about a gunfighter named John Coventry and painting Chaney’s portrait.  Gentry, it is revealed, is Coventry, and he helps Puritan escape Heller’s clutches.  Gato is trying to work out a deal with the Apaches led by Delgadito (Michael Ansara).  In the end, they kill him instead.  Gentry/Coventry is finally forced to kill Heller and holds off Delgadito’s band long enough to give Teach and Chaney a chance to escape. 

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This is reminiscent of Yellow Sky, Rawhide, Man of the West and Incident at Tomahawk Gap, which all involve relative innocents captured by ruthless, unprincipled outlaws in remote locations in a movie with a noir-ish feel.  It might be Fred MacMurray’s best western; he and Dorothy Malone are particularly good.  In color, and short at just over 80 minutes.  This can be hard to find, but it’s worth seeking out.

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The Last Sunset

Nicholas Chennault ~ January 16, 2014

The Last Sunset—Kirk Douglas, Rock Hudson, Dorothy Malone, Joseph Cotton, Carol Lynley, Jack Elam, Neville Brand  (1961; Dir:  Robert Aldrich)

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Gunman Brendan O’Malley (Kirk Douglas) arrives at the Breckenridge ranch in Mexico, to find that lady of the ranch is old flame Belle (Dorothy Malone) and that her weak alcoholic husband John (Joseph Cotton) is preparing for a cattle drive to Texas that they are unlikely to be able to accomplish.  Their nubile daughter Melissa (or Missy, played by Carol Lynley) is coming along, too.  O’Malley offers his help (for a price:  one-fifth of the herd plus Belle); now all they need is a trail boss who knows the way, and he promptly shows up in the form of Dana Stribling (Rock Hudson), a Texas lawman who is hunting O’Malley for killing his no-good brother-in-law.  The two agree to put aside resolution of their differences until the herd gets to Texas.

As was often the case, Douglas made an unconventional protagonist for a western.  He wears tight-fitting black and uses a derringer instead of a larger gun.  He has been hunting Belle since the Civil War, when they had something going in Virginia.  This is a cattle drive western, with the usual incidents:  unreliable drovers (the nefarious Dobbs brothers, played by Neville Brand and Jack Elam); inclement weather (a dust storm), Indians (Yaquis), and a stampede.  As they head the herd north, Breckenridge encounters former Confederates in a bar; they were from his unit under Stonewall Jackson and confront Breckenridge with having run at Fredericksburg.  They’re forcing him to show them his wound (in his backside) when O’Malley and Stribling intervene.  As the three leave, one of the Confederates shoots Breckenridge in the back. 

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Now Belle is a widow, but Stribling shows romantic interest in her.  O’Malley rescues Stribling during a storm, and the Dobbs brothers make their move.  Belle shoots one, and O’Malley and Stribling recover the herd.  O’Malley gratuitously shoots a Yaqui (whose corpse is unusually cooperative in being moved to a horse), and Stribling gives the tribe a fifth of the herd to mollify them—O’Malley’s share.  As Belle develops feelings for Stribling, O’Malley and the much younger Missy also start to bond romantically.  On the night before the herd crosses the Rio Grande to Crazy Horse, Texas (presumably making this after 1876), Missy wears Belle’s yellow dress from a night long ago, and she and O’Malley make plans.

[Spoilers follow.]  Once the herd is in Texas, however, Belle discloses to O’Malley that Missy is his daughter.  Stribling and O’Malley (with his derringer) carry out their showdown, O’Malley characteristically without his hat.  When Stribling wins, he finds that O’Malley’s derringer wasn’t loaded. 

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The women are more central to what’s going on here than they are to most westerns, giving this sort of a melodramatic feel with several sudden revelations along the way.  Malone is very good.  Hudson is adequate but pales beside Douglas in the meatier role.  And he wears a strange hat.  Adapted by Dalton Trumbo from a novel by Howard Rigsby, Sundown at Crazy Horse. Not bad work from director Aldrich, who had directed Vera Cruz in 1954 and would yet do Ulzana’s Raid ten years later.  Shot in Aguascalientes, Mexico.

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Colorado Territory

Nicholas Chennault ~ December 2, 2013

Colorado Territory—Joel McCrea, Virginia Mayo, Dorothy Malone, Henry Hull, James Mitchell, John Archer (1949; Dir: Raoul Walsh)

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Raoul Walsh’s 1941 gangster movie High Sierra is here remade by the same director as an excellent western, set in Colorado Territory in 1871.  Long-time outlaw Wesley McQueen (Joel McCrea) is in a Missouri jail, waiting transportation to Leavenworth.  He gets sprung from jail at the instructions of The Old Man, acting through one of his agents with the curious name of Pluthner.  McQueen heads west, toward Colorado Territory, where The Old Man, kind of a criminal mastermind by the name of Dave Rickard (Basil Ruysdael), lives. 

On the stage west, McQueen meets a Georgian named Fred Winslow (Henry Hull) and his daughter Julie Ann (Dorothy Malone, with dark hair and her trademark eyes).  When outlaws attack the stage, killing the driver and shotgun rider, McQueen fights them off and brings in the stage.  He heads for the meeting place with a new gang, a deserted mountain village called Todos Santos.  The Winslows head off for their new ranch, Rancho del Sol, which they find to be less than advertised—less water, less stock, etc. 

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The women:  Dorothy Malone as the ultimately faithless Julie Ann.

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And Virginia Mayo in dark makeup as half-Pueblo dance hall girl Colorado Carson.

McQueen at this point would like to go straight, and he’s not impressed by the other gang members The Old Man has lined up:  Duke Harris (James Mitchell), a bully and killer; Reno Blake (John Archer), slick and cowardly with a waspish tongue; and Colorado Carson (Virginia Mayo), a part-Pueblo dance hall girl from El Paso.  He tells Colorado to leave, since he can see she ignites trouble between Duke and Reno.  He wants to go straight, and he’s attracted by Julie Ann. 

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McQueen (Joel McCrea) takes the unruly gang in hand.

McQueen heads for Pacheco to talk with The Old Man, stopping by Rancho del Sol.  The Winslows aren’t doing well, and he hears some backstory about Fred’s worrying about Julie Ann’s attraction to a Randolph back home—much above the Winslows in social class, and who’s never going to marry her.  The Old Man’s in rough shape health-wise, but he talks McQueen into leading this last score.  McQueen has strong misgivings about all aspects of the job:  Reno, Duke, a garrulous, corrupt train conductor (Ian Wolfe), and especially about Pluthner.  He leaves $1000 with the Winslows, but feels (a) he’s sinking deeper into a moral morass, and (b) Julie Ann may not be as pure as he imagines anyway.  Colorado’s obviously attracted to him, and she seems like she could be a better match for somebody like him notwithstanding her past. 

As the gang carries out the robbery, the talkative conductor has squealed to the marshal, and Duke plans to kill McQueen during the robbery.  McQueen is successful in getting the loot, and he escapes with Colorado, a posse in hot pursuit.  As he stops by Pacheco, he finds The Old Man dead and Pluthner going through his stuff.  Pluthner pulls a gun; McQueen kills him but is wounded in the shoulder. 

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McQueen (Joel McCrea) looks to get away after a final robbery gone wrong.

At Rancho del Sol, Colorado patches him up, and he realizes that his future, if there is any, lies with her.  In fact, Julie Ann tries to turn McQueen in to the posse for the reward on his head.  At Todos Santos, McQueen and Colorado conclude that they have to head for Mexico immediately, and Colorado hides the $100,000 in loot above the confessional in the old church.  McQueen tries to draw off the posse, heading for an old canyon pueblo called the City of the Moon.  The posse overtakes him there, as does Colorado.  With a ruse, the marshal lures McQueen out to where he is hit by an Indian sniper.  Colorado, blazing away with two guns, is shot down, too.  (See the Italian poster for the movie, above, which focuses on this scene very colorfully.)  They are together in death.

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Colorado Carson (Virginia Mayo) and McQueen (Joel McCrea) are trapped by a posse.

As with Pursued, Yellow Sky and Blood on the Moon, this has a strong noir influence.  McCrea’s basic decency makes a reforming McQueen believable, although some think he’s too decent to be credible as an outlaw.  Watch how naturally McCrea rides in this; he and Randolph Scott were probably the best riders among major western stars.  This may be one of Virginia Mayo’s best roles, although the dark makeup she wears doesn’t go with her light eyes and natural coloring.  When posters feature a prominent female image, you can’t always count on the female being central to the movie.  This one features strong female roles.

In black and white, making good use of mountain settings.  The pueblo where the final shoot-out takes place looks like it might be Canyon de Chelly.  The movie was filmed around Gallup, New Mexico.  A good screenplay by John Twist, with very effective dialogue, although some of it has a 1940s flavor now.  Something about this one spawned an unusual number of colorful posters internationally.

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