Western : What Westerns have you seen, Oct, Nov, Dec

What Westerns have you seen, Oct, Nov, Dec

Greetings Cowboys, Cowgirls and Cowpunchers

Format is simple, the thread is designed for fans of Westerns and the off-shoots of such (Easterns/Northerns/Civil War et al) to post reviews, comments, questions, and just general fawning of a genre of film making we love.

Your posts will be read and respected here. Yee-Haw!

Western Tv JOHNNY RINGO "The Arrival" 1959 James Coburn


JOHNNY RINGO "The Arrival" 1959

JOHNNY RINGO was a western series that ran for 38 episodes during 1959-60. The series starred Don Durant as the title character with Karen Sharpe, Mark Goddard and Terence De Marney as series regulars. The series follows Durant, (Ringo) a former gunfighter who decides to go straight. He becomes the Sheriff in the small town of Velardi in the Arizona Territory. The series was one of several (Rifleman, Wanted Dead or Alive, Shotgun Slade) with a "gimmick gun". Durant carries a special LeMat revolver equipped with a shotgun barrel under the six gun barrel. This episode is the 1st episode of the series.

Former gunfighter, Don Durant is hired by the small town of Velardi to be the new Sheriff. The town is having trouble with the local saloon and gambling hall owner. The man, James Coburn, runs crooked games and sells rot-gut whisky. He also keeps a group of hired guns to stop anyone from complaining.

It takes all of 15 minutes for Durant to have a run in with the swine, Coburn. Durant is lucky to get out of Coburn's place with his breathing arrangements still in working order.

Coburn needs help and hires a local, Terence De Marney. De Marney has shall we say an over fondness for the bottle. The man swears to stop drinking and straighten up. Also in the mix is De Marney's pretty daughter, Karen Sharpe. She is happy that Durant is giving her father a chance to sober up.

After another man is killed in Coburn's saloon, Durant gives Coburn 24 hours to clear out of town. Coburn of course gets a laugh out of this, and tells Durant he will be waiting at the end of the 24 hours.

Durant straps on a special gun that De Marney gives him. The gun is a honking big Le Mat revolver with a shotgun barrel under the revolver. He hits Coburn's place and is met by Coburn and 5 hired guns. Iron is pulled and lead flies. Durant puts down all the hired guns, then walks up to Coburn. Coburn laughs and says that he has counted Durant fire all six rounds. He takes aim at Durant to finish him off. Durant though still has the extra round in the shotgun barrel. Coburn is soon splattered all over the wall behind him.

The following year Coburn would have his star making turn in, THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN.

ULZANA'S RAID 1972 Superb Lancaster Western



This is simply one of the best western films to come out of the 1970's. This Robert Aldrich directed film stars, Burt Lancaster, Bruce Davison, Richard Jaeckel, Joaquin Martinez and Jorge Luke.

The film starts, when a small group of Chiricahua Apaches leave the reservation to go on a raid. The group in led by Joaquin Martinez who has grown tired of the slow death that reservation life is. They plan on a bit of killing, burning and rape.

The local Army fort sends a small detachment of troopers under a junior officer, Bruce Davison, to capture or kill the renegades. Old time scout Burt Lancaster and his Apache partner, Jorge Luke are also in the mix.

Ulzana (Martinez) is working his way across the desert country killing several troopers and settlers. They also enjoy a bit of rape and torture with one of the settler women. The troopers, led by the inexperienced Davison, are always one step behind the Apaches.

Davison is of course all for riding hard and heavy in pursuit of Martinez and the braves. Old hand, Lancaster tells Davison that they need to out think the Apaches in order to catch them.

What follows is a real cat and mouse game between the Apaches and the troopers. Lancaster and his man, Luke, manage to outflank a couple of the Apache party and run off their horses. Now the pursuit turns all the more deadly, as the Apaches need to find some remounts. Needless to say there is going to be dead on both sides.

This one is a top flight duster with the cast and crew all turning in good work. The film was shot on location in Arizona.


The look of the film is excellent, with 2 time, Oscar nominated and 1 time winning cinematographer, Joseph Biroc at the controls. His work includes, ROUGHSHOD, LOAN SHARK, WITHOUT WARNING, THE GLASS WALL, VICE SQUAD, WORLD FOR RANSOM, NIGHTMARE and THE GARMENT JUNGLE. His most famous films are likely, HUSH, HUSH SWEET CHARLOTTE and IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE.

Re: ULZANA'S RAID 1972 Superb Lancaster Western

Excellent movie!
Really want to watch it a second time.

"He was a poet, a scholar and a mighty warrior."

Re: ULZANA'S RAID 1972 Superb Lancaster Western

I agree. Very under rated 70's film.

Re: What Westerns have you seen, Oct, Nov, Dec

Sounds good to me.

Re: Saddle the Wind 1958

I was never a fan of Taylor - he almost ruined Qvo Vadis for me - but I liked him in this. I watched it on you-tube, an experience I try to avoid, so the fact I liked the movie that much speaks volumes.

"He was a poet, a scholar and a mighty warrior."

The Proud Ones 1956 Excellent Robert Ryan Duster



A much better than I was expecting western from the middle of the heyday of the genre.

Robert Ryan is a lawman in a railhead town at the end of the cattle trail. He tries to play fair with everyone, and tells the just arrived cowhands etc to behave themselves. It they cause no trouble, they will not get any from Ryan and his deputies, Walter Brennan and Arthur O'Connell.

Ryan is keeping company with Virginia Mayo, who runs a boarding house in town. He is finally going to pop the question and ask for her hand in marriage. This happy turn of events is soon interrupted by the return of several past problems.

First is the son, Jeffery Hunter, of a gunslinger Ryan had killed some years before. The son is looking for maybe a little payback. He has heard that Ryan had gunned his father when the man was unarmed. Hunter wants to decide if Ryan is indeed a back shooter. The second, and bigger problem, is the new saloon and gambling hall owner, Robert Middleton. Middleton, who goes by the unlikely name of "Honest John Barrett" runs anything but a honest set-up.

It does not take long before Ryan catches a card sharp in Middleton's saloon, doing a bit of underhand card playing. Ryan runs the card sharp out of the place. One of Middleton's guns goes for Ryan from behind. Hunter, who is having a beer, shouts out a warning to Ryan. The gun hand puts one in Hunter's leg and grazes Ryan in the head before Ryan drops the four flusher.

Ryan has Hunter put up at Miss Mayo's place to heal up. Ryan intends to ride close watch on Middleton's action. The deal with the two is that there is bad blood between them. The two had squared off in a different cow town before. Ryan had left that burg because his girl, Mayo had asked. Middleton had mistakenly taken this as cowardice on Ryan's part. Another twist is that Hunter's father was in Middleton's employ when he bought it.

Hunter recovers and is given a job as a jailer by Ryan. Ryan sits the kid down and tells him that his dad was a low-life gunman. Hunter does not like hearing this but can see that Ryan seems to have the respect of the town.

The one deputy, Arthur O'Connell, quits in order to be with his with child, wife. Hunter is offered the job, which he takes. Ryan is slowly filling up the jail with Middleton's crew as they get caught rolling winners at the table etc. The pit boss at Middleton's saloon, George Mathews kills a man for calling him a cheat. Ryan adds him to the jail house residents. Middleton has had enough of Ryan and sends for his two best guns, Ken Clark and Rodolfo Acosta.

Adding to Ryan's problems is that the head wound he got earlier is causing bouts of 2 or 3 minutes of blurred vision. This of course he keeps to himself. Clark and Acosta make a late night play at bushwhacking Ryan on his rounds. Ryan has to run for it as a bout of blurred vision hits.

The next night he takes Hunter along on his rounds. Acosta makes another play at Ryan. This however ends with Acosta getting some unneeded changes to his breathing process. Acosta's partner, Clark, does not like this and grabs a few of Middleton's men for a raid on the jail house. They free Mathews etc and kill guard Brennan.

Ryan hears the shooting and comes a running. He finds Hunter exchanging shots with Clark, Mathews and bunch. Ryan and Hunter chase the villains into a large barn on the edge of town. There is a long gun battle during which Ryan has another bout of blindness. He also catches a round in his gun arm. Hunter though is up to the task and the gunmen are soon ready for Boot Hill.

All that remains is to put the pinch on ringleader Middleton. Middleton is not inclined to go peacefully and goes for a hidden gun. Hunter is not fooled by the move and puts Middleton down for the count. Ryan and Mayo ride off to start a new life and Hunter is the new town lawman.

Also in the cast are Edward Platt, Fay Roope, Richard Deacon and Whit Bissell.

The director was Robert D. Webb. Webb was a long time second unit man whose films after making the move to main chair, include, THE GLORY BRIGADE, THE SPIDER, WHITE FEATHER, BENEATH THE 12 REEF, GUNS OF THE TIMBERLAND and Elvis's first film, LOVE ME TENDER.


The film features a rather subdued and haunting theme from Lionel Newman.

Ryan is Ryan. Did he ever turn in anything but a great performance? Hunter is good while a mustache wearing Brennan is at his scene stealing best in his limited screen time.

Unlike most westerns, this one is not set out in the big spaces. It instead makes great use of the town as the backdrop for all the gun-play and double dealing. Most of the action takes place at night which works quite well.

Re: What Westerns have you seen, Oct, Nov, Dec

Still need to see CROSSFIRE TRAIL myself.

Re: What Westerns have you seen, Oct, Nov, Dec

I went DVD shopping this month, and couldn't believe the haul I came home with.
Please envy, at will.

yellow sky (1948) ***
battle at apache pass (1952) **1/2
column south (1953) **
tumbleweed (1953) **1/2
war arrow (1953) **
the tall men (1955) ***
star in the dust (1956) **
mohawk (1956) **1/2
the tall T (1957) ***1/2
decision at sundown (1957) ***
terror in a texas town (1958) ***1/2
buchanan rides alone (1958) ***
ride lonesome (1959) ***
comanche station (1960) ***
seven ways from sundown (1960) **
one foot in hell (1960) **
bullet for a bad man (1964) **
death of a gunfighter (1969) **

Re: What Westerns have you seen, Oct, Nov, Dec

Wow, that is a nice haul and I AM jealous. You've got a few of my favorites, a few on my "to see" list, and a few that I'm unfamiliar with. Overall, a great score.


Re: What Westerns have you seen, Oct, Nov, Dec

More than a few keepers there!

Re: What Westerns have you seen, Oct, Nov, Dec

Bought dvds of Pale rider, High plain drifter, High noon, the proposition n The wild bunch. Will revisit these movies.

A person who has health has hope n a person who has hope has everything.

Re: What Westerns have you seen, Oct, Nov, Dec

Like them all.

Western Tv :JOHNNY RINGO "A Killing for Cully" 1959


JOHNNY RINGO "A Killing for Cully" 1959

JOHNNY RINGO was a western series that ran for 38 episodes during 1959-60. The series starred Don Durant as the title character with Karen Sharpe, Mark Goddard and Terence De Marney as series regulars. The series follows Durant, (Ringo) a former gunfighter who decides to go straight. He becomes the Sheriff in the small town of Velardi in the Arizona Territory. The series was one of several (Rifleman, Wanted Dead or Alive, Shotgun Slade) with a "gimmick gun". Durant carries a special LeMat revolver equipped with a shotgun barrel under the six gun barrel. This episode is the 4th episode of the series.

While Sheriff Durant is out of town on a matter, Deputy Mark Goddard is left in charge. A rough and tough local, Charles Fredericks, has had a few too many shots of whiskey at the saloon. He starts to shoot up the place and Deputy Goddard is soon on site. Fredericks, pulls iron on Goddard and the deputy puts the man down for good.

Goddard sees a coffee mug sitting at the table where Fredericks had been. His first thought had been that the man had been drunk. Now Goddard feels that maybe he did not need to kill the man. What Goddard does not know is that Fredericks had been sipping rot-gut out of the mug.

This is the first man that Goddard had actually ever killed. He does not like the feeling and decides to quit the Law. When the Sheriff, Durant, returns he hears about the death and talks to his man. Goddard though is sure that he wants no more part of gun-play. He even tosses out his gun.

Of course this idea goes south in a hurry. Three of the Fredericks' brothers, Arch Johnson, Joe Perry and Bing Russell arrive. They are looking for a little payback. Matters become heated quickly and guns are pulled and used. The brothers are lucky that only one of them is wounded. A girl from the saloon now steps up and tells Durant that Fredericks had indeed been drunk.

This one is a pretty good half hour duster.

Rachel and the Stranger (1948)

Hi Gordon,it is awesome to see that you are keeping this thread going,and hear is the first of two Westerns I have lined up.


** This review may contain spoilers ***

Taking a look at the BBC listings,I spotted a Western double bill.Recording the movies,I found details on Fritz Lang's Rancho Notorious to make it sound a more complex plot to Robert Mitchum's gunslinger,which led to me deciding,that for the first of this Western fest,I would walk to the salon with Big Bob.

The plot:

Bringing up his son Davy on his own after the tragic death of his wife, David Harvey decides that he and his son need a women round the house. Going to get a servant woman from settlement head Parson Jackson,Harvey gets pushed to accept Rachel as his servant,and to get married to her! Unwilling to accept Rachel as a new women in their lives,the Harvey's live Rachel as a farmhand. Believing that she will never be accepted,Rachel and the Harvey's are woken up by the Harvey's old friend Jim Fairways arriving in town.

View on the film:

Rushed out when Mitchum was arrested for possessing marijuana,director Norman Foster & cinematographer Maury Gertsman avoid any sign of rebellion, emphasised by Roy Webb whimsical score,soaked up in the stilted shots Foster uses to breath in the superb rural location. Firing an arrow to end the film on a Western battle with the Indians, Waldo Salt's adaptation of Howard Fast's story loads up the Melodrama's "Women's Picture."

Entering the Harvey's farm with Rachel,Salt wonderfully shows no fears in highlighting the harsher side of Davy and David,with the memory of their wife/mother leading to them wearing their Melodrama hats,until the arrival of Fairways,leads to them finally becoming aware of who Rachel truly is. Despite some of the dialogue being dry,the cast make the movie sing,thanks to an irresistible chemistry.Pushed around,the elegant Loretta Young gives a charming performance as Rachel,who despite being pushed away by everyone,is given a firm determination by Young.Changing the way the Harvey's (played by a great William Holden and Gary Gray) see Rachel in a new light,Big Bob (who also sings!) gives a terrific performance as Fairways who is given a Folk music glow by Bob's reunion with the family,with Mitchum given Fairways a glint of rebellion in his eyes,as Rachel meets the stranger.

Re: Rachel and the Stranger (1948)

Tick on the way my good man. It has to be more than 20 plus years since I last caught this one. Time for a re-watch.

Re: Rachel and the Stranger (1948)

Thanks Gordon,and if you go in expecting a breezy Western,I think there is a good chance that you will like it a bit more than me.

Western Tv : JOHNNY RINGO "The Accused" 1959


JOHNNY RINGO "The Accused" 1959

JOHNNY RINGO was a western series that ran for 38 episodes during 1959-60. The series starred Don Durant as the title character with Karen Sharpe, Mark Goddard and Terence De Marney as series regulars. The series follows Durant, (Ringo) a former gunfighter who decides to go straight. He becomes the Sheriff in the small town of Velardi in the Arizona Territory. The series was one of several (Rifleman, Wanted Dead or Alive, Shotgun Slade) with a "gimmick gun". Durant carries a special LeMat revolver equipped with a shotgun barrel under the six gun barrel.

This episode is the 3rd episode of the series.

A local rancher is grabbed up by several other ranchers and accused of killing a woman. The man, Robert Gist, looks all the more guilty because he has some goods missing from the dead woman's home. Plus her son, Ron Howard, points him out as the killer.

Gist swears he is innocent. The goods he picked up off the ground after a rider had galloped by. Gist is quickly put on trial for murder. Town Sheriff, Don Durant ends up as Gist's defence counsel when no one else will step up. The young boy, Howard points out a different man and the jury finds Gist not guilty.

The majority of the town locals however are sure Gist is guilty. Gist is on the wrong end of several beatings etc. His cattle are soon being killed off, and the bank refuses to loan him money for a new well. Gist resorts to stealing water from a nearby ranch. There is a volley of gunfire exchanged with the other rancher collecting a slug.

Durant and a posse are soon beating the bush looking for Gist. Gist does not come quietly and Durant is forced to wound him. While the local doc is patching Gist up, a bounty hunter arrives in town. The bounty hunter has a man slung over a pony. The dead man is a wanted killer the bounty hunter had bagged a few days before. The bounty man tells the crowd the dead man had confessed to killing a local woman the week before. Gist really was innocent.

The episode was directed by long-time TV man, Lamont Johnson.

Western Tv: THE RESTLESS GUN "Man and Boy" 1957


THE RESTLESS GUN "Man and Boy" 1957

This is 10th episode of the 78 episode run of the John Payne western series, THE RESTLESS GUN. The series followed the trail of fast gun, Vint Bonner, (Payne) as he travelled the American west.

In this episode, Payne hits a small town to have a shoe replaced on his horse. The blacksmith tells him about a robbery of the stage office the night before. The blacksmith, Dan Blocker tells Payne that the robber had killed one man, and badly wounded another before riding off into the dark.

Payne happens to know the town Sheriff, Emile Meyer. He offers to help catch the killer. Meyer however is rather reluctant to gather up a posse. He has plenty of excuses to avoid the pursuit. Payne decides to chase after the killer anyways. Meyer now does go along with the chase.

The trail is easy to follow as the killer's horse has a deep mark on one of its horseshoes. There is also a bit of blood to follow. It seems that one of the stage office men had managed to get off a shot before he was killed.

The further they follow the trail, the more worried Sheriff Meyer becomes. He finally spills that he thinks the killer might be his son, Martin Braddock. Braddock was in deep with some gamblers and needed cash. They finally corner the killer in an abandoned cabin. Meyer is forced to kill the man when the killer gets the drop on Payne. It turns out that the bandit is not his son.

Not really a barn-burner suspense or action wise. But, it is still always interesting to see Dan Blocker in a pre-BONANZA role.

The director was b film hand, Edward Ludwig. Ludwig is best known for a trio of John Wayne films he directed, THE FIGHTING SEABEES, WAKE OF THE RED WITCH and BIG JIM McLAIN. The d of p was Republic Studios regular, Bud Thackery.

Rancho Notorious (1952)


* This review may contain spoilers ***

After seeing the charming Western Rachel and the Stranger,I took a look at the TV listings,and found out that the BBC were following the screening with a Western from Fritz Lang. Previously only knowing Lang for his Sci-Fi,Film Noir and late Adventure movies,I excitingly got set to enter Lang's Western metropolis.

The plot:

Working as a ranch hand, Vern Haskell finds his peaceful life to be left broken when his fiancée Beth Forbes is killed during a robbery. Finding no help from the law,Haskell leaves his peaceful life behind,and goes in search of the outlaws. Finding one of the robbers dying on the ground after being betrayed by his former pal,Haskell is told of a game called Chuck-a-Luck. Locating the main salon where the game is played,Haskell crosses paths with Altar Keane,who along with getting lucky on Chuck-a-Luck,is now wearing some of Forbes jewellery.

View on the film:

Locked from giving a full crack of the whip by studio owner Howard Hughes taking control of the editing and his relationship with the lead actress being so "frosty" that they ended up not speaking to each other during production,director Fritz Lang & cinematographer Hal Mohr are still able to find a saddle which allows them to enter the Wild West with style,as expertly delivered overlapping images cast an evil under the sun Film Noir atmosphere under the West,with the burning hot sun dimming as Haskell takes another step to finding Forbes killers. Possibly spurred on by the production "issues" Lang shootout with a peculiar comedic side,which steps into view as all the dames take the cowboys on in a piggyback ride contest.

Being a diva on set (with her demanding Mohr to make her look younger) Marlene Dietrich wonderfully transfers her off-screen confidence to the screen,via giving Altar Keane a brashness which keeps all the boys in line. Haunted by the sight of his dead wife, Arthur Kennedy gives a marvellous performance as Haskell,whose sweet heroic smile is tainted by Kennedy as loner who finds himself unable to stop the transformation into an outlaw,as Haskell gets his revenge with a game of Chuck-a-Luck.

Re: Rancho Notorious (1952)

Keep them coming!

The Magnificent Seven (1960)

Watched it again for what must be close to the 20th time. Love it.

Western Tv: SCHLITZ PLAYHOUSE "No Compromise" 1953


SCHLITZ PLAYHOUSE "No Compromise" 1953

One of the more popular anthology series of early television, was, SCHLITZ PLAYHOUSE. The long running, 1951 to 1959 series pumped out over 360 episodes. Every week there was a new story starring many of the biggest stars of Hollywood. One week would be a comedy, and the next week could be a war, drama, crime or western themed episode. This particular episode is the 15th of the 3rd season. The episode is a western set in the 1880's.

This one has a Texas Ranger, Stephen McNally, in Alabama looking for a man wanted for shooting another Texas Ranger. The man, Robert Strauss, happens to be a childhood friend of Ranger, McNally. McNally has info that Strauss is about to rob a local train of a payroll.

Ranger McNally boards the train and gets the drop on Strauss before he and a partner can pull the job. He captures Strauss, and kills the partner in an exchange of lead. McNally collects a painful wound in the leg during the battle. McNally and his cuffed prisoner are soon on their way to Texas. McNally wires ahead that he has the man.

At every stop through Alabama, relatives of Strauss try to spring the man from McNally's custody. These range from a county judge to various assorted gun bearing cousins. McNally manages to keep the bunch away by planting a revolver firmly against Strauss's head. It anybody tries anything, McNally will pull the trigger. The journey to Texas takes several days and Strauss comes close several times to getting away on his own.

The journey ends with McNally delivering his prisoner to Austin Texas. A trial, followed by a long spell in a State Prison would appear to be in Strauss's immediate future.

This is an excellent little episode with decent talent in front and behind the camera. The director is Arnold Laven. Writer, producer and director, Laven produced series like, THE RIFLEMAN and THE BIG VALLEY. As a director he helmed, WITHOUT WARNING, VICE SQUAD, DOWN THREE DARK STREETS and THE RACK.

The story and screenplay are by Les Savage. His film work includes, THE HILLS OF UTAH, RETURN TO WARBOW and BLACK HORSE CANYON.

The look of the episode is top notch with 7 time Oscar nominated cinematographer, Russell Harlan at the controls. His films include, A WALK IN THE SUN, GUN CRAZY, RED RIVER, GUILTY BYSTANDER, THE THING, BIG SKY, THE LAST HUNT, RUN SILENT RUN DEEP, RRIO BRAVO, OPERATION PETTICOAT, THE GREAT RACE and TOBRUK.




It is the early 1870's in the Arizona Territory, there has been a bloody and vicious war going on for a number of years. The settlers and the Apache tribe under the command of Cochise, have being having a no holds barred fight with various atrocities being traded back and forth.

Former soldier and Army scout, Tom Jeffords (Jimmy Stewart) is out riding the hills doing a little gold prospecting. He comes across a young Apache lad suffering from a shotgun wound. He tends to the boy's wounds and helps him heal up. Several days later, a party of Apache show up. It is all the lad can do to stop them from doing in Stewart. The lad tells the leader, Jay Silverheels, that Stewart had saved his life.

Silverheels lets Stewart go with a warning to never return. Stewart then witnesses the same group, ambush, and nearly wipe out a small group of prospectors. Stewart returns to town with this tale. Stewart decides that this war needs to end. He has a "tame" Apache teach him how to speak Apache along with their customs etc.

A month later he rides off into the mountains, where Cochise, (Jeff Chandler) has his stronghold. The two meet and talk out a minor deal to let Pony Express riders through Cochise's territory. It is the first move towards peace. This effort is not met with joy from everyone. Some of the townsfolk think the only good Indian is a dead Indian. Cochise also has a few malcontents who only want war.

When a group of Army troops gets a rather sound beating for trespassing on Apache land, it looks like full-fledged war is going to start up again. However, the U.S. government has sent out General Howard to make a treaty. Howard (Basil Ruysdael) is known as a straight shooter who keeps his word.

Ruysdeal convinces Stewart to take him to see Chandler to begin talks for peace. Stewart arranges the meeting. Chandler is not all that inclined to believe a Blue Coat. Stewart tells Chandler that "he" trusts the General. Rules and terms are pounded out and it looks like it will work. Needless to say a group of Apache led by Geronimo (Jay Silverheels) decide to continue the fight.

While all this has been going on, Stewart has fallen for Apache maiden, Debra Paget. Stewart wants to marry the girl, who feels likewise towards Stewart. Chandler points out all problems that might arise from such a joining, but Stewart is determined to close the deal.

The treaty is a success with the odd hic-up caused by the Apache renegades and some settlers out looking for gold on Apache land. The wedding between Paget and Stewart goes off and the two seem very happy.

Several weeks later a lad from town is brought into the Apache camp. He was found on Apache land. The boy, Mickey Kuhn, is the son of the leader, Will Geer, of the Indian haters in town. Kuhn says that two of his young ponies had been stolen and he tracked them to Apache land. Chandler says that if this is true, he will see they are returned.

Chandler, Stewart, Paget and Kuhn head up the trail to where the pony tracks lead into Apache land. It turns out the whole thing is a plot to lure Chandler out of camp. 7-8 men led by Geer are waiting to ambush Chandler. Stewart spots the play and tells Chandler to beat it. This he does, but not before dispatching a few of the gunmen. Stewart stands his ground and likewise accounts for several before going down in a hail of lead.

Chandler returns with some braves who set off after the remaining ambushers. He finds the wounded Stewart crying over the body of Paget. She had caught a few bullets during the battle and was killed. The death of Paget deepens the bonds of friendship between Chandler and Stewart. Stewart now rides off into the sunset.

This film was one of the first to treat the North American Native as something other than brutal savages. It tries to play fair and equal when showing the mistakes and hatred that came from both sides in the conflict.

Also in the cast is, Arthur Hunnicutt, John Doucette and Iron Eyes Cody. Iron Eyes Cody was from Louisiana and of Italian decent. He moved to Hollywood, changed his name and pretended to be Native Indian. He appeared in several hundred films and TV shows playing a Native. It was not till the 1990's that it was discovered who he really was.

This very fine western was the first of a series of westerns made by director, Delmer Daves. Daves was a writer, producer and director. He started out with war films, DESTINATION TOKYO, PRIDE OF THE MARINES, switched to film noir, TO THE VICTOR, THE RED HOUSE, DARK PASSAGE, before finding himself a home with westerns. His westerns include, BROKEN ARROW, DRUM BEAT, JUBAL, THE BADLANDERS, THE LAST WAGON, COWBOY, THE HANGING TREE and 3: 10 TO YUMA.

The film features some excellent camera-work from, 3 time nominated and one time Oscar winning cinematographer, Ernest Planer.

The top flight score was from 8 time nominated, and 1 time Oscar winner. Hugo Friedhofer.

The film itself was nominated for 3 Oscars with nods for, Best Writing, Best Cinematography and Best Supporting Actor, Jeff Chandler. This one is well worth a watch. (Color)

Re: What Westerns have you seen, Oct, Nov, Dec

Open Range was filmed just out of town here in Calgary Alberta. One of many westerns filmed locally.

Re: Saddle the Wind 1958

While not a big Taylor fan, I found him quite passable in several dusters as he aged and lost the "pretty boy" face. Taylor seems to be one of those love him or leave him types, with little middle ground.

Saddle the Wind 1958



I finally got around to this 1958 western headlined by Robert Taylor, John Cassavetes and Julie London. The film is sort of a psychological Western written by the great Rod Serling. It was helmed by director Robert Parrish with help from an uncredited John Sturges.

Robert Taylor is an ex gunfighter who owns a ranch in a high mountain valley. The man had worked for the main land owner in the valley, Donald Crisp for years. Crisp, in sort of a mentor role, had softened Taylor's hard edges and turned him into a solid citizen. Crisp had even given Taylor a piece of land to start his own cattle ranch.

Of course there needs to be something to upset this pleasant image. And that is Taylor's younger brother, John Cassavetes. Cassavetes is a wild rather unstable lad who does not like living in the shadow of his popular brother.

Cassavetes, just back from a supply buying run to the big city, arrives back at the ranch with his pretty bride to be, Julie London. London, a former dance hall singer, believes that Cassavetes might be her ticket to the good life. Taylor sees London as a gold digger and tries to send her back.

The kid brother has shall we say, developed an itchy trigger finger. Taylor knows full well how such a liking for the gun will end. He tries repeatedly to get his younger brother to relax. London soon clues in on the fact that Cassavetes is really jealous of Taylor, and is a rat at heart.

Cassavetes, Taylor, London and a few of the boys ride into what passes for the local one horse town. It is the small general store, bar and livery stable type burg. Cassavetes hits the bar for a few. Soon a famous gunman, Charles McGraw, enters. McGraw is looking for Taylor. Taylor shot his brother in a gunfight some years before and McGraw has finally tracked him to the valley.

Cassavetes calls McGraw out not knowing just how good McGraw is. It is only through a bit of luck and McGraw being distracted at the right moment that Cassavetes emerges the victor.

Needless to say this gives Cassavetes a swelled head. This leads to more idiot behaviour from the kid. He soon kills again and finds he likes it. His actions literally start what could end in a range war, when he shoots the leader of a group of squatters, Royal Dano. He then really stokes the fire when he shoots and badly wounds, Donald Crisp. Taylor of course has to settle the issue, brother or no brother. A somewhat grim, but very well-crafted film with an ending I was not expecting.

The rest of the cast includes Ray Teal, who seemed to be in every second western, Doug Spencer, Jay Adler and Stanley Andrews. London is very under used here but she does manage to get in a song. The film was shot on location in Colorado which adds a nice look to the production.

Director Parrish is well known to fans of film noir as the helmsman on CRY DANGER and THE MOB. He also handled the reins on the top Robert Mitchum western, THE WONDERFUL COUNTRY.

Veteran cinematographer George Folsey is at the controls as the director of photography. The 11 time Oscar nominated Folsey's work includes. MEET ME IN ST LOUIS, ADAM'S RIB, MALAYA, THE BIG HANGOVER, VENGEANCE VALLEY, ALL THE BROTHER WERE VALIANT, EXCECUTIVE SUITE, THE COBWEB and HOUSE OF NUMBERS.

Re: Saddle the Wind 1958

Thanks for your review of "Saddle the Wind," a very enjoyable western. Robert Taylor, in his late 40s, nearing the end of his career and aging fast, looks more rough-hewn than in his youth. Despite the piling-on Taylor has received in replies to your review, he seems right at home in the old west. STW is a typical western of the time: color, wide screen, larger than life characters, sprawling story, breath-taking scenery, and lots of gunplay. It is imminately watchable.

Others, while knocking Taylor, have missed the real mis-cast in this film. I am talking John Cassavetes who looks like he just stepped in off the streets of 20th century New York City while coming straight from a class at Actors Studio.

Have you, by chance, seen "The Law and Jake Wade"? This is another good Robert Taylor western released in 1958, the same year as "Saddle the Wind." In this one, Taylor is a former outlaw turned lawman. His former gang, led by Richard Widmark, doing his giggling psycho bit which - I've got to admit - he does pretty well, shows up and blackmails Taylor into helping them find a treasure in hostle Indian country. Also in the cast are Henry Silva and DeForrest Kelly as Widmark's apprentice psycho killers.


Trust me. I’m The Doctor.

Re: Saddle the Wind 1958

LOL. THE LAW AND JAKE WADE I caught just last week. I still need to do a write-up on it. Another top duster as you say.

Western Tv: The Long Trail 1954 Anthony Quinn


SCHLITZ PLAYHOUSE – The Long Trail – 1954

One of the more popular anthology series of early television, was, SCHLITZ PLAYHOUSE. The long running, 1951 to 1959 series pumped out over 360 episodes. Every week there was a new story starring many of the biggest stars of Hollywood. One week would be a comedy, and the next week could be a war or western themed episode. This particular episode, is number 164 of the production run. It stars Anthony Quinn, Maxine Cooper, Robert Armstrong, John Bryant and Hugh Sanders. The episode is a western set in 1861.

Texas Ranger, Anthony Quinn has been on the trail for Oregon for 4 months. He is to bring in a man wanted on a 3 year old murder warrant. The local sheriff, Robert Armstrong, goes over Quinn's paperwork and says all is in order. Quinn can collect his man, John Bryant, the next day out at the camp where he works.

Armstrong invites the road weary Quinn to stay and have dinner with his daughter, Maxine Cooper and his grandson. Quinn is more than happy to grab a home cooked meal and put his feet up. Quinn packs away several plates of Cooper's cooking, before relaxing with a smoke.

Several riders soon come up to the house and enter. The men are all armed with six-guns and rifles. The men, Hugh Sanders, Steve Darrell and George DeNormand, would all like a few words with Quinn. The men are friends of the wanted man, Bryant. They are here to try and "persuade" Quinn to return to Texas alone.

Quinn is not at all inclined to do this and hints at trouble if he is interfered with. Sheriff Armstrong tells the men that Quinn has the law on his side. "The papers are all legal and valid." The men back off for the moment.

The next morning Quinn and Armstrong ride out to the camp where Bryant is. It turns out that Quinn and Bryant know each other from Texas. Bryant swears the warrant is a mistake. He had killed a man in self-defence. Quinn insists that Bryant will get his day in front of a judge.

Now, Miss Cooper, as well as Sanders, Darrell and DeNormand ride up. We now discover that Cooper is not only Armstrong's daughter, she is also the wife of Bryant, and the father of the young boy. This changes nothing as far as Quinn is concerned.

Sanders, now says he has something that changes everything. He pulls out a telegram from out east. It seems that the civil war has started and Texas has joined the Confederate States. Any legal paperwork, the warrant for example, is now void.

Quinn has a look at the telegram, smiles, wishes Bryant and Cooper a long life and heads off back to Texas.

A much better episode than I make it sound like. There is plenty of tension and hinted violence during the various heated discussions.

The direction is by veteran TV helmsman, Jus Addiss. Addiss knocked out close to 200 television episodes, from 30 different series during his time in the industry.

The episode story was written by, N.B.Stone, who also wrote the stories for MAN WITH A GUN, and the superb, RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY. The episode screenplay was by, George Bruce. Bruce is best known for the films, TWO YEARS BEFORE THE MAST, SOUTH OF PAGO PAGO, and the film noir, KANSAS CITY CONFIDENTIAL and WALK A CROOKED MILE.

Maxine Cooper some will recall from the Mike Hammer film, KISS ME DEADLY with Ralph Meeker. She played Velda.

Robert Armstrong headlined the big 30's smash, KING KONG.

Western TV: A Little Stroll to the End of the Street 1966 D. Duryea


A Little Stroll to the End of the Street – 1966

This one is an episode of the 1966 western series, THE LONER. This 26 episode series was created by the legendary, Rod Serling, and stars Lloyd Bridges.

Bridges is an ex Union soldier who wanders the west taking work as he finds it. In this one, he is working in Texas as an US Marshall.

Bridges is sent to a small town to protect a fire and brimstone preacher, Robert Emhardt. Emhardt believes that a gunslinger, Dan Duryea, just released from a 3 year prison term is out to kill him.

Bridges arrives in the town and visits Emhardt in his rooms. Emhardt starts the conversation by offering Bridges $1,000 to kill Duryea when he hits town. Bridges wonders just what type of preacher he is dealing with.

He quickly discovers that Emhardt is making a good living off his sermons. He asks for cash for the Lord's work and the people give. Bridges tells Emhardt he is a crook, but that since he was sent to protect him, he will.

That night, Duryea rides into town and takes a room. He is standing at the bar sipping a whiskey when Bridges finds him. The two men share a bottle and talk about why they are both there.

Duryea seems to be suffering from a rather violent bout of coughing. Between sips of whiskey and coughs, he tells Bridges a story. He wants revenge on Emhardt for the death of his 18 year son.

His son, a follower of Emhardt, had talked the wanted by the law Duryea, into surrendering. "Do the time and come out a free man by the law, and in spirit." He told me says Duryea. "We rode into town so I could give myself up and we were jumped by the Sheriff and his men. They just started shooting and my son was killed. It seems Emhardt had convinced my son to bring me in so Emhardt could claim the $500 reward on me. I've waited a thousand days for this."

Bridges tells Duryea to just move on. He does not want to kill him if he makes a play for Emhardt. Just then, Bart Burns, steps up and goes for Duryea. Bridges gets the drop on him and gives him a bit of his gun barrel, breaking Burn's arm. It seems Emhardt had hired Burns to finish Duryea after Bridges refused.

Down the street we hear Emhardt's voice booming as he gives his nightly sermon. Duryea empties his glass, tips his hat to Bridges, then, walks out the door. When Duryea had gotten up, Bridges notices that Duryea's holster was empty. He was unarmed.

Bridges follows Duryea as he enters the tent where the revival meeting is happening. Emhardt's eyes go wide as he sees Duryea. He points at him and screams. "There! There is the spawn of the devil himself. He has come to stop me from the Lord's work!" Another hired gunman, Norman Leavitt, steps out and levels a rifle at Duryea. Bridges spots the move and drops him with a shot. Then Emhardt pulls a derringer pistol and shoots Duryea in the chest.

Bridges bends down to check on Duryea. Duryea says, "I have the cancer and had only a month anyway. This way I get even with Emhardt." Duryea smiles and then dies. Bridges grabs Emhardt and says, "You are under arrest for murder!"

This very entertaining episode was written by, Rod Serling. The director was Norman Foster. Foster's work includes, 6 Mr. Moto films, as well as the noir, KISS THE BLOOD OF MY HANDS, JOURNEY INTO FEAR and WOMAN ON THE RUN. Duryea himself would actually die of cancer 2 years later. (b/w)

The Roy Rogers Show

The Roy Rogers Show (1951). This was one of the most popular of TVs early westerns, especially with younger viewers. 101 episodes over seven seasons were produced. I saw the first two episodes of Season 3. The half hour format is in that frontier/modern mash-up universe that often sprang up in the 1940s, often when cowboys would battle Nazis during the war years, that is to say, the primary story background is the western milieu where everyone dressed in cowboy and cowgirl costume, rode horses, drove buckboards, and packed six-shooters on their hips like an open carry wet dream, but motorized vehicles could also show up, mainly, in the case of this show, the jeep (named Nellybelle) driven by comic sidekick Pat Brady. The regulars were Roy Rogers, his wife Dale Evens, Brady, and Roy’s horse Trigger, his dog Bullet, and Dale’s horse, Buttermilk. The two things that struck me most while watching were 1) in episode 2, Roy kills four people. Of course, they are nameless and faceless henchmen who just fall down during a gunfight and are never mentioned again; 2) Roy hardly ever stops smiling. It’s a little creepy, particularly when there are bodies to pick up.

S.3, Ep 1 “The Milliner from Medicine Creek” (October 11, 1953). Millie and her father come to town to open a new hat shop. Pat gets all hot and bothered over the new lady in town, but Dale thinks that she is just a little too smooth. The viewers quickly learn that she is part of a plot to rob a gold shipment.

S.3 E. 2 “Pat's Inheritance” (November 1, 1953). Pat receives notice that he has inherited an old broken down ranch that is reputed to be haunted.


Trust me. I’m The Doctor.

Re: The Roy Rogers Show

I recall watching some of these as a kid in the late 50's and early 60's. Do not recall any particular story details. I tried 4-5 years back to watch one and just could not get into it, and I love the old b/w stuff. It was as you say the odd mix of cowboy gear and cars that threw me off.

Western Tv: TALES OF WELLS FARGO "The Feud" 1957



TALES OF WELLS FARGO was a western series than ran for a total of 200 episodes between 1957 and 1962. Dale Robertson plays the lead as Jim Hardee. Hardee is an agent for the stage and cargo hauling outfit. When something goes wrong he is the man they send to fix it.

This episode is the 20th of the series.

Welles Fargo man Robertson in trying to arrange passage for a stage line through a rancher's land. The man, Harry Mackin, is however in a feud with another local, Ted de Corcia. The fight is over water, de Corcia has it, and Mackie needs it. Mackie is forced to haul water from ten miles away to keep his stock alive.

Also in the mix here are the grown children of both men. King Donovan can't wait for his dad, de Corcia to die. He wants to control the ranch. De Corcia's other son, Ron Hagerthy, is madly in love with Mackie's daughter, Jackie Blanchard.

Donovan decides to rush matters and kills off one of his cousins and tries to frame one of Mackie's kin. Wells Fargo detective Robertson sees through the frame and spills the beans. Now Donovan is really peeved and heads off to kill the girl, Blanchard. Robertson and Donovan's father, de Corcia give chase and capture the swine first.

The two families make up and a wedding is soon planned between the two clans.

This is a quick and to the point episode with Donovan in particular, shining as the murdering lowlife. This is a nice looking episode with some great location work and nary a sound stage in sight.

Sundown Trail (1931)

Sundown Trail (1931, Robert F. Hill)
--- A likable little B-western where Tom Keene was boasting of confidence. Mostly enjoyable for the flirt then the quirky action, but at least they kept the mood up well for such a throw-away production.

Re: Sundown Trail (1931)

Thanks for the heads up on this one.

Cowboys from Texas (1939)

Cowboys from Texas (1939)
--- New land has opened up for homesteaders, that also opens for range wars. Thankfully the (new) Three Mesquiteers are there to calm the situation down. The line-up is this time Robert Livingston, Raymond Hatton & Duncan Renaldo, not really having the best of chemistry compared to previous factions, and because of it I also felt they struggled to fit into the story which was more a random western script adjusted to the trio. Simple Republic cowboy action, and in all honesty forgettable.

Re: Cowboys from Texas (1939)

I just caught an episode of WHISPERING SMITH with Audie Murphy from 1961. With a small role was Raymond Hatton. Loved it.

Dynamite Pass 1950 Solid low rent western


Dynamite Pass 1950

Tim Holt headlines this RKO low-renter from 1950. This one has Holt and partner, Rick Martin helping out a couple, Lynne Roberts and Regis Toomey. The couple are trying to build a road through the mountains to a small town.

The only way in now is a toll road ran by John Dehner. Dehner and his gunmen charge a outrageous amount for people to move their goods to the town. Holt and Martin hire on to help.

Needless to say bad types in Denher's employ are not shy in the six-gun area. Multiple gun-battles and horse chases keep the action going at a speedy pace.

Denher's lead gunman, Denver Pyle is particularly good here. This 61 minute quickie was knocked off by b-film veteran, Lew Landers. The prolific Lander was know to be able to crank out a dozen features a year.


Well worth a watch if you are in the mood for a lightweight western that punches like it is in a heavier division.

Western Tv: "The Man who believed in Law" 1959 Charles McGraw


Hotel de Paree: "The Man who believed in Law" 1959

Hotel de Paree was a western series that ran between 1959 and 1960. The series ran for 32 episodes and starred, Earl Holliman, Jeannette Nolan, Judi Meredith and Strother Martin. Headliner Holliman plays a gunslinger named "Sundance", who is just out of prison and wants to turn over a new leaf. He ends up in Georgetown, Colorado, where he buys into a small hotel ran by Nolan and Meredith. Though he wants to avoid gun play, it has a way of creeping up on the man.

In this episode, the 9th of the series, a hard as nails Charles McGraw hits town to become the new Sheriff. The town council had heard that the man had cleaned up several other troubled towns. First day in and he has killed two men, one over an 11 dollar hotel bill, and another for being drunk.

McGraw now spends the next few days putting up plenty of "No guns allowed in town" signs all over the place. It seems like a great idea, till McGraw shoots and kills the shotgun guard on the just arrived stagecoach. "The man had his guns on." Says McGraw.

The town's people start to wonder if McGraw is a bit too harsh in his application of the law. A traveller in town, Hank Patterson, tells "Sundance" (Earl Holliman) about how McGraw had killed various men in his home town. He tells Holliman that the longer McGraw is here, the more death there will be.

The town council decides to terminate McGraw's contract. Problem here is that McGraw has no intention of quitting, till he "thinks" the job is done. This forces ex-gunman Holliman to slip on his iron for a more forceful talk with McGraw.

The two men line up on the street. McGraw tells Holliman to drop the gun-belt. Holliman shakes his head in the negative. McGraw tells Holliman that he will count to three and then draw. He makes it to the count of two, then a shot rings out. McGraw drops to the dirt with a large hole in his back. The widow of one of the men McGraw killed has exacted some payback.

This is a damn fine bit of television with excellent work from the cast and crew. McGraw really shines as the unsmiling Lawman with his own code.

The crew is top notch with actress turned producer and director, Ida Lupino at the controls. The woman is talented. The story is by big screen man, Francis M. Cockrell. His film work includes, THE RAID, DARK WATERS and INFERNO. The director of photography was the one time Oscar nominated, Frank V. Phillips. The series score was penned by 17 time Oscar nominated and 4 time winner, Dimitri Tiomkin.

Look close and you will see long time western fixture, Bob Steele in a small bit.

Re: What Westerns have you seen, Oct, Nov, Dec

Over the past little while, I've seen "Night Passage", "Wagon Master", "Bend of the River", "Barbarosa", and "The Desperadoes".

What do you think this is, a signature? It's a way of life!

Re: What Westerns have you seen, Oct, Nov, Dec

All well worth a watch in my humble opinion. I saw BARBAROSA in the cinema back in 82 or 83.

Massacre River (1949)

Massacre River (1949)

I'm a jinx Larry.

Massacre River is directed by John Rawlins and written by Louis Stevens. It stars Guy Madison, Rory Calhoun, Carole Matthews, Cathy Downs, Johnny Sands and Steve Brodie. Music is by John Leipold and Lucien Moraweck and cinematography by Jack Mackenzie.

Three army buddies, two ladies, and Indians unhappy about land encroachments. Spells trouble for sure.

Massacre River is a tricky Western to recommend in that it is not one for those expecting a Cavalry and Indians actioner, this is no high energy "B" Western. It relies heavily on character dynamics and a story ripe with surprising forays into darker territories. In fact it is far from routine stuff, a tag that even the New York Times reviewer of the time was quickly wrong to call it.

We have five people caught in a devil's pentagon, friendships and passions are tested and emotions reach boiling point. Thankfully the makers involved here have the courage of their convictions to make bold decisions with some of the characters. Decisions that bring the pic into a film noir realm, which when aided by some pleasing monochrome photography, and shadow play when the story goes bleaker, marks this out as very being aware of that style of film making that was bubbling away with menace at the time.

It begins all jaunty with pals larking around, even bordering on the homo erotic as two of the guys wrestle in a bath of water (seriously), and with a meeting of the fort colonel and the Indian chief (Art Baker and Iron Eyes Cody) outlaying a problem brewing between the two factions, it appears to be heading into "formula". But once the action switches to Jackson (the last outpost bordering Massacre River), the whole tone shifts, very much so, and it becomes a spicy hotbed of human agonies and vagaries of fate.

Problems exist of course. It's nice to have Calhoun and Brodie in the same movie, but the former's fans are made to wait for him to be seen at his best, while the latter is very under used. Story wise there is a hint of under staffing at one of the forts, but it's not explored for benefit, while the Indian angle ultimately feels tacked onto the human drama. But it's nicely performed by the cast, there's some nice photography and camera work, while the comforting sight to Western fans of the Iverson Ranch locale is boosted by shots filmed at Canyon de Chelly National Monument.

Well worth a look for Western fans familiar with noirish angles of the period. 7/10

Footnote: Some sources have it listed as being in Sepiatone. Not sure if it was filmed originally in that format? But the print I saw via TCM's HD channel wasn't so, it was a straight and very nice looking monochrome print.

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: Massacre River (1949)

Welcome back to the round-up!!!!! This one I must admit is new to me. Thanks for the heads up with the review. Tick has been sent your way.


Western Tv: TRACKDOWN "The Brothers" 1957 Steve McQueen


TRACKDOWN "The Brothers" 1957

This is the sixth episode of the 1957 to 1959 western series, TRACKDOWN. Robert Culp stars a Texas Ranger who wanders the State putting the grab on the wanted. The series ran for a total of 70 episodes.

Culp is bedding down for the night when he is held up and relieved of his gun, badge, papers and horse. He then gets a gun barrel across the back of the head and put to sleep.

The next day, he carries his saddle the 10 miles to the next town. He stashes his saddle and bedroll at the local stable. He finds his horse tied up inside and asks the stable owner, Richard Devon about it. Devon says the horse was there when he arrived in the morning.

Culp as it so happens was on his way to this very town to pick up a prisoner. Culp pays the Sheriff, Ian MacDonald a call. MacDonald tells Culp he does not believe his story of being robbed. A Texas Ranger with all the proper papers has already showed and taken the prisoner. The Sheriff strongly suggests Culp leave town.

Culp of is not about to do this. He has a look in the saloon and sees his man, Steve McQueen. It turns out though that the wanted man is really McQueen's twin brother. A girl, Rebecca Welles, is now introduced to the tale in order let the viewer in on the gag.

There is of course one good brother, and one bad brother. The good one had relieved Culp of his papers etc in order to get his brother out of jail. He does not believe that the brother is a killer. Needless to say the nasty sibling is exactly that. After a bit of confusion, Culp, with the help of the stable owner, has a showdown with the proper brother. He is forced to deposit some lead in his carcass when he fails to come along quietly.

There are a couple of minor bumps in the story, but the quick pace covers these up nicely. Veteran television man, Don McDougall sits in the director's chair.

Veteran writer, D.D. Beauchamp could turn out stuff like this in his sleep. Beauchamp is best known for the story or screenplays for the big screen dusters, RAILS INTO LARAMIE, GUNSMOKE, RIDE CLEAR OF DIABLO, THE MAN FROM THE ALAMO and LAW AND ORDER.

The episode itself is quite sharp looking, with another big screen vet, Guy Roe handling the cinematography. Roe is well known to film noir fans for his work on, RAILROADED, WHISPERING CITY, TRAPPED, ARMORED CAR ROBBERY and THE SOUND OF FURY.

Steve McQueen would do another guest spot on the series as bounty hunter, Josh Randall. This episode would be spun off as the pilot for the popular western series, WANTED: DEAD OR ALIVE, which ran for 94 episodes between 1958 and 1961. It was interesting to see Richard Devon in a non-villain role for a change.

Wild Bill (1995)

I hope y'all have a wild Christmas!


“I don’t want to be shot in the back of the head like Mr.Lincoln”

* This review may contain spoilers ***

Finding out about him after seeing the Pop-Art comic-book stylisation of The Warriors,I was surprised to find Walter Hill be very involved in the making of HBO's magnificent Western series Deadwood. Directing the pilot,Hill gave the ep a rawness which was expanded over the next 3 seasons. Taking a look at what movies were about to go from Netflix UK,I spotted a Hill title I've not heard anything about before,which led to me getting set to meet Wild Bill.

The plot:

Attending his funeral, Charley Prince starts to think about the "difficult" friendship he had with "Wild" Bill Hickok.

The past:

Getting on everyone's hit-list,"Wild" Bill Hickok leaves undercover to the outlaw town of Deadwood.Viewed as a mythical cowboy,Hickok plays up to the image as he joins friends such as Charley Prince passing the time drinking.Becoming recently reunited with Calamity Jane, Hickok learns that he has an illegitimate son,who is just as much an outlaw as his old man.

View on the film:

Spinning the guns to black and white flashbacks that Hickok has half-drunk memories of,writer/director Walter Hill and cinematographer Lloyd Ahern II give the flashbacks a poetic calm in in unveiling the events which led to the "code" Hickok lives by. Sharply contrasting the smoothness of the flashbacks,Hill and Ahern give the present an earthy,gritty atmosphere. Setting the sun down on the Wild West with Hickok's face covering the screen,Hill pours mud and dry dirt into the tensions of the West,which ignites in a fury of red and white dust being scatted across the screen as Hickok hands a short.sharp shock of a shootout out.

Visibly appearing to "tense" on screen, (with Hill saying that there was always some "tension" between them) Jeff Bridges channels this unease into a very good performance as Hickok,who displays flashes of his myth making bombast,but is wonderfully pinned by Bridges with a suspicion that his "code" is fading with the sun. Opening this adaptation of Peter Dexter's book & Thomas Babe's play with Hickok's funeral,Hill aims for the murky back-shooting of the Wild West with the elegance of the bio-pic. Inter-cutting between the past and the present,Hill struggles to keep the distinctive atmospheres at an even level,with the tough bite of Hickok's last days of living by his "code" being cooled down by the calmer,more withheld flashbacks,which leads to this being a far from "Wild" kill(ed) Bill.

The Rounders (1965) - El Paso (1949)

El Paso (1949)

Legal Eagle and the Johnny Rebels.

El Paso is directed by Lewis R. Foster and Foster also adapts the screenplay from a story written by J. Robert Bren and Gladys Atwater. It stars John Payne, Gail Russell, Sterling Hayden, George 'Gabby' Hayes, Dick Foran, Eduardo Noriega, Henry Hull and Mary Beth Hughes. Music is by Darrell Calker and cinematography by Ellis W. Carter. Location filming is at the Iverson and Corrigan Ranches and El Paso and Gallup.

El Paso, and lawyer and ex-Confederate captain Clay Fletcher (Payne) is forced to go against his principles and go outside the law to bring order to the town. It's a town where the judge is alcoholic and manipulated by the corrupt sheriff and a nefarious landowner.

In the mix here is a very decent film, and certainly there's a story that if given a bit more meat could have been most potent. Unfortunately it's a bit choppy in its telling and execution, while the Cinecolor it was shot in looks washed out and cheapens still further what was already a picture being made without a big budget.

Thematically it's strong, there's a vigilante thread that's attention grabbing, with some nice suggestive shots used by the director, and a theme of ex-soldiers returning from the war - only to find their land and rights being vanquished by the self imposed powers that be - carries with it some pertinent sting. There's also some good humour in here, notably a running gag involving Hughes' Stagecoach Nellie.

Cast are fine, with Hayden and Payne fronting up for their fans, Hayes does another grand grizzled old coot turn, and Noriega, in spite of being under used, is excellent. Crude back projection work undermines some half decent action sequences, whilst the extended shoot-out finale is nicely played out during a dust storm - which may be to hide some flaws in the production? But regardless it has good effect.

Frustrating picture for sure, but for Western die-hards there's enough here to enjoy and not feel angry about. 6.5/10

The Rounders (1965)

Howdy, it comes to me that we ain't exactly the smartest cowboys that ever lived.

The Rounders is directed by Burt Kennedy and Kennedy adapts the screenplay from Max Evans' novel. Music is by Jeff Alexander and cinematography by Paul Vogel. It stars Glenn Ford, Henry Fonda, Sue Ane Langdon, Hope Holiday, Chill Wills and Edgar Buchanan.

Two ageing bronco-busting rounders get into (mis)adventures with a crafty old equine along for the ride...

It's one of those films that has amiable blood coursing through its veins. We are in very good company with Ford and Fonda, two likable and most reliable veterans of the silver screen, and crucially it looks like they are having fun - and it's infectious. Teamed up with a splendid comedy horse who gets up to mischief when ever possible, the boys also find some sexy lady love interests that puts a nice little risqué cheek on things, cheek actually being a very literal word at times.

Technically it's a very good production. Filmed in Metrocolor/Panavision, the vistas are superbly photographed by Vogel, with Arizona locations including Coconino National Forest, Red Rock Crossing, San Francisco Peaks and Village of Oak Creek. The stunt work is high quality, well shot by the wily Western movie veteran Kennedy, while Alexander's musical compositions have the desired jolification. Rounding off is a splendid and comforting support cast that sees Denver Pyle joining Buchanan and Wills for further Western genre reassurance. 7/10

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217