Western : What Westerns Have You Seen? May/June/July/Aug/Sept Edition

Re: Wallace Beery's 20 Mule Team & Wyoming + a couple of other…

62. The Westerner (1940, William Wyler)
--- There's simply never been a more likable badguy then Walter Brennan in The Westerner (1940)!

You got that right. This is one my absolute favorites.

"Anybody who doesn't wanna hang, step out and get shot!"

Re: Wallace Beery's 20 Mule Team & Wyoming + a couple of other…

Many thanks for the heads up on these titles. I know about half of them but love hearing about the others. Keep them coming.

Re: Wallace Beery's 20 Mule Team & Wyoming + a couple of other…

The Return of Frank James (1940)

Tell me, is it more important for you to kill a man than to save an innocent one?

Frank James, after learning that the men who killed his brother, Jesse, have been pardoned, comes out of hiding to enact revenge.

Following straight on after the ending of Henry King's 1939 Tyrone Power starrer, Jesse James, The Return Of Frank James sets its stall out from the off to entertain without giving much credence to history. Back by popular demand as Frank is Henry Fonda, who in turn is joined by the returning John Carradine and Charles Tannen as Bob and Charlie Ford respectively. Along for the ride and offering up petite beauty and innocence is Gene Tierney in her first starring role.

Directed by Fritz Lang, who had cemented his glowing reputation with the likes of M & Fury, The Return Of Frank James is a solid if unspectacular Western entry. Certainly the dark theme of revenge is not to be sniffed at, nor is the strand dealing with the influence of the press. Whilst the California photography from George Barnes is appropriate and pleasing on the eye. It's just that the film, in spite of its fine production, feels like the cash in sequel it obviously is. It's a hard film to take seriously, which in a film dealing with serious issues such as revenge, is not particularly good really is it?!

It's actually the jovial nature of it that stops it from veering towards the maudlin. Certainly the court case sequences are joyous and give Fonda and the team something to get stuck into. But it's an odd mix of a film, with its main allegiance difficult to really pin down. Yet in spite of my own protestations, it's a film I heartily recommend to those interested in light hearted Westerns, regardless of if that was Lang's intention from the off? It's also fair to say that those who enjoyed Henry King's far better first movie, will doubtless enjoy this sequel as well.

Safe, solid and definitely enjoyable, but ultimately it's not very memorable. 6/10

Dark Command (1940)

On to Kansas we go.

Loosely based around a true story, Dark Command sees John Wayne play Bob Seton, an uneducated cowboy from Texas who wins around the people of Lawrence, Kansas to become their town Marshall just prior to the outbreak of the civil war. This angers the previously respectful town teacher, Will Cantrell {Walter Pidgeon}, who after being beaten on the vote by Seton, forms guerrilla groups to raid, pillage and gun run around the Kansas countryside. Seton, now ensconced in the ways of the law, sets about crushing Cantrell and his unfeeling raiders, but there is also another matter at hand. Both men have deep affection for the same woman, Mary McCloud {Claire Trevor appearing with Wayne again after Stagecoach the previous year}, so things are just that little bit more spicy between them as things start to come to a head.

Directed by Raoul Walsh and adapted from the novel by W.R. Burnett {Little Caesar & High Sierra}, the picture also contains fine support from Roy Rogers, Gabby Hayes and features a pleasing score from Victor Young. Tho historically dubious, Dark Command is no less enjoyable for being a creaky distortion of the "Quantrill's Raiders" {re: Cantrell} period in history. Those after a history lesson would be well advised to source from elsewhere in that respect. Catching John Wayne just as he was about to become the towering presence he was, the film also serves as notice to a time when stunts and character interplay were precious commodities. Walsh, ever the sharp eye for action, delivers some wonderful sequences here, horses and carts are a thundering, even careering over cliffs at one point. Whilst the final raid on Lawrence is a blood pumping feast for the eyes. But it's with the feel of the film that it ultimately succeeds as a period piece of note. The mood is dark as the civil war looms, slave trading and gun running sit distastefully with dubious politics, and then the war, with Cantrell and his raiders taking their spoils of war leaving a particularly nasty taste in the mouth. All of which is moodily cloaked in a Raoul Walsh inspired sheen.

A tip top production all round, and a fine cast on form makes Dark Command a must see for Republic Studios enthusiasts. See it if you can. 7/10

I purchased The Westerner (1940) recently so that's one I'll also be watching and reviewing.


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Re: Wallace Beery's 20 Mule Team & Wyoming + a couple of other…

The Mark of Zorro (1940) is definitely due a rewatch and I need to review it as well. Agree with what you have to say.

Virginia City (1940) is one I think I have somewhere, while I definitely have When the Daltons Rode (1940), so I'll get to them at some point.

Santa Fe Trail (1940)

Errol, Ronnie and Olivia, directed by Curtiz.

This is based around the story of one Jeb Stuart, a Southern born gent who would go on to become one of the South's greatest cavalrymen during the American Civil War. We follow his romance with sweetheart Kit Carson Holliday, his friendship with George Armstrong Custer, and onto his battles with abolitionist John Brown.

Tho it's mostly agreed these days that Santa Fe Trail has no great historical worth, it is however still a decent movie that boasts great drama, a sweet romance, and no little amount of action. Knowingly directed by the astute Michael Curtiz and featuring the acting of Errol Flynn (dashing as Stuart), Olivia de Havilland (gutsy as Carson), Ronald Reagan (solid as Custer), and Raymond Massey (acting overdrive as Brown), the picture certainly holds up well on the technical front.

However, the relatively low rating on this particular site is of much interest to me, for being as I'm British I have no sort of conflict of interest with the actual story. Patriotic fervour booms out from the screen, but this appears to be at odds with the John Brown arc, the character's ambitions are nearly accepted as noble, creating a sort of odd coupling. I could of course be way off, but I wonder if the story doesn't sit well with some of our American friends? Still the picture is never less than enjoyable, the great music from Max Steiner adds to the occasion and the finale is high reward for the viewers patience. 6.5/10

Super stuff H

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The Shepard of the Hills (1941)

The Shepherd of the Hills (1941)

I can't remember the last time I saw a John Wayne film when John Wayne wasn't acting like John Wayne all the time. I found Betty Field completely bewildering in this southern shakespeare Appalachian act beautifully filmed by Henry Hathaway.

"Anybody who doesn't wanna hang, step out and get shot!"

Re: The Shepard of the Hills (1941)

Saw it a while back, but since it was a Friday, I probably had too much beer onboard to recall if I liked it. On the rewatch list it goes.

Re: The Shepard of the Hills (1941)

It's a hole in my Duke Wayne viewings that needs to be filled!

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Western Tv: HAVE GUN - WILL TRAVEL "The Yuma Treasure" 1957


HAVE GUN - WILL TRAVEL "The Yuma Treasure" 1957

HAVE GUN – WILL TRAVEL was a Western series that ran on television between 1957 and 1963. The series was very popular and was always in the top ten of the television ratings. The series ran for a total of 225 episodes. Richard Boone headlines as "Paladin", a gun for hire, if the cause is right. Working out of San Francisco, Boone places ads in newspapers offering his services. $1,000 and he is your man. While handy with a gun or fists, he tries to settle the problem without violence. (Not very successfully as a general rule)

In this episode, the 14th the series, Boone is called to an Army fort commanded by Warren Stevens. Stevens' command is having a spot of trouble with the local native tribe, the Maricopa. Stevens wants Boone to set up a meeting with the Maricopa chief, Henry Brandon. Boone it seems is known to many tribes as having a straight tongue. (Honest)

Boone takes Stevens out to the hill country to meet with the tribe leader. Boone soon smells a large rodent in the person of Stevens. It seems that the natives have grown restless over men who are trespassing looking for gold. Stevens, has grown tired of a soldiers pay and wants a big score. He shoots up one of the tribe and goes looking for the lost treasure mine.

This action soon has Boone tied to some stakes and left to die in the hot sun. Lucky for him that his horse gives Roy Rogers' Trigger a run in the brain department. Boone is freed by his trusty steed and goes looking for Stevens. Stevens goes for a header off a handy cliff and the gold is returned. The Maricopa decide Boone can return to the fort.

This one is really a slipshod episode. I was expecting more since the writer was Gene Roddenberry of STAR TREK fame. Oh well, every series is allowed a stinker once in a while.

Henry Brandon is best known as the Indian "Scar" in the superb John Ford duster, THE SEARCHERS.

Re: Western Tv: HAVE GUN - WILL TRAVEL "The Yuma Treasure" 1957

Have Gun - Will Travel (1957) - The Yuma Treasure (1957)


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Western Tv: TALES OF WELLS FARGO "Shotgun Messenger"1957


TALES OF WELLS FARGO "Shotgun Messenger"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 6th of the series. Wells Fargo man Dale Robertson is sent off with another employee to set up a new stage line at a new gold field. The men are to set up an office and hire new drivers and shotgun guards. Several unsavoury types, Kevin Hagen and Kem Dibbs try to sign up. Robertson though does not like the looks of the men and turns them down. He hires a young local lad, Michael Landon instead.

Robertson's gut instinct about Debbs and Hagen being criminal types is soon proved correct. The two men attempt to rob the stage on its very first run. Landon turns out to be rather handy with a rifle and chases the bandits off. Landon does collect a shoulder wound though in the fight.

Several days later, Landon is grabbed off the streets at gunpoint by the same two men. The men, Debbs and Hagen tell Landon that they know he is the son of a former Wells Fargo man who was fired in disgrace. They threaten to tell Robertson this and get him fired. They will not do this if Landon will help them on a hold-up. Landon agrees to the deal.

The crooks though end up with guns in their faces and lead in their gut when they try to bushwhack the stage. It seems that Robertson knew all along whom Landon's father was. Debbs, before he dies confesses to being involved in the robbery that Landon's father was blamed for. Landon's father had always claimed he was innocent.

This is another sharp looking episode with several Oscar types behind the camera. The director, Lewis R Foster was a two time nominated and one time winner of an Academy Award. He collected his Oscar nods as a writer for, THE MORE THE MERRIER and MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINTON. As a director he was helmsman on a string of decent B westerns and noir. These include, THE EAGLE AND THE HAWK, MANHANDLED, CRASHOUT, EL PASO, CAPTAIN CHINA and TOP OF THE WORLD. Handling the cinematography here is the one time nominated, John F Warren.

Michael Landon of course would go on to fame on the series, BONANZA, LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE and HIGHWAY TO HEAVEN.

Re: Western Tv: TALES OF WELLS FARGO "Shotgun Messenger"1957

Tales of Wells Fargo (1957) - Shotgun Messenger (1957)


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AMBUSH AT CIMARRON PASS 1958 Scott Brady, Clint Eastwood



This low end western was a Regal Production released through 20th Century Fox. The cast includes, Scott Brady, Clint Eastwood, Frank Gerstle, Margia Dean, Irving Bacon and Baynes Barron.

A US Cavalry patrol led by Scott Brady has captured gunrunner, Baynes Barron. Barron was collared with 36 new Winchester rifles he was planning on selling to the Apache. The Apaches are not amused, and have been following the patrol, knocking them off one by one.

The men come up on another group that is also in having their share of trouble with the natives. The men have had their herd of cattle rustled by the same Apaches. In charge here is Frank Gerstle. One of his hands is played by Clint Eastwood. The men are all veterans of the late war between the States. The Cavalry are Yankees while the cattlemen were Confederate types.

The two groups decide to join up for added protection from the Apache. They are soon joined by Margia Dean who was a prisoner of the Apache. Miss Dean delivers a message from the Apache. If they turn over the 36 Winchesters they can all go without a fight.

Brady will have none of this idea, he knows full well the Apache will wipe them out if they lay their hands on the rifles. The Apache chase off the group's horses that night leaving them on foot. It is at least a 6 day walk to the Cavalry fort.

The next day, the men and Miss Dean set off for the fort. The bunch is short of water and food, but they have the rifles and plenty of ammo. The Apache keep their distance because of the firepower. They do however manage to knock off any stragglers etc. Also in the mix here is Irving Bacon. Bacon is stirring up trouble between ex Confederate Eastwood and the Yankee Sgt, Brady.

Matters come to a head when the Apache try a night time raid to grab the guns. The raid fails with dead on both sides. The group continues on their trek to reach the fort. The heat, lack of food and a poisoned water hole take their toll on the group.

On their last legs, Brady has an idea to even the odds. They pull a night time raid on the Apache hoping to reclaim their horses. The raid goes sideways and the horses get away. The party though are able to do some serious damage to the Apaches. The surviving men and Miss Dean now manage to stagger their way to the fort.

I seriously wanted to like this film, but it barely rises above average at best. The 72 minute run-time seems much longer, with cast being shown constantly walking up hills, then down hills. The direction is incredibly static, showing why this was the only big screen film helmed by, Jodie Copelan. The story is just a re-hash of tales one has seen many times before. Veteran writer John K. Butler had done much better work before.

The cast gives it their all and are not to be blamed for the poor end product.

Re: AMBUSH AT CIMARRON PASS 1958 Scott Brady, Clint Eastwood

Ambush at Cimarron Pass (1958)

I honestly hadn't heard of it before. Very mixed reviews on site, can't say it screams out as a must see.

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: AMBUSH AT CIMARRON PASS 1958 Scott Brady, Clint Eastwood

A must see it is not.

Return of the Bad Men (1948)

Return of the Bad Men (1948)

A little better than average B western but entertaining enough if you're a fan of Randolph Scott, Robert Ryan or Gabby Hayes.

"Anybody who doesn't wanna hang, step out and get shot!"

Re: Return of the Bad Men (1948)

I found it a decent timewaster as well.

Re: Return of the Bad Men (1948)

You're the most unethical, ornery bandits I ever done business with.

Return of the Badmen is directed by Ray Enright and co-written by Charles O'Neal, Jack Natteford and Luci Ward. It stars Randolph Scott, Robert Ryan, Anne Jeffreys, George Hayes and Jacqueline White. Music is by Paul Sawtell and cinematography by J. Roy Hunt.

Braxton, Oklahoma Territory, 1889, soon to be a ghost town as the impending land rush changes the West. With that comes more than just settlers, it brings outlaws too, some of the meanest there is. Under the leadership of Wild Bill Doolin has gathered the Sundance Kid, the Younger Brothers, the Daltons, Wild Bill Yeager, Billy The Kid, George Mason, the Arkansas Kid and Doolin's niece Cheyenne. Standing in their way? Vance Cordell, retired Texas Ranger, soon to become temporary marshal of newly formed Guthrie Town, and a man with a score to settle with the Sundance Kid.

Premise is simple, RKO, flush with the success of Badman's Territory the previous year, decide that more is best in this second instalment of the studio's "Badmen" trilogy (Best of the Badmen followed in 1951). They pitch some of the Wild West's baddest apples together and play them off against that bastion of stoic cowboyness, Randolph Scott. As a basic Western movie it works, film is always engaging, has a good action quota, is technically safe from the camera side of things and is driven by a pot boiling destiny showdown between Scott and Ryan. Trouble is is that so many notorious characters in one mix means the film has no chance of living up to its promise. Which in a running time of 90 minutes was always going to be impossible to achieve anyway, especially when you also have the inevitable romantic angle involving our hero, another character thread involving reform and the backdrop of the land rush as well.

Thankfully the film finds Scott and Ryan more than capable of sealing the deal, lifting the picture above the routine plotting and unrealistic nature of the set-up. It's good versus evil, where Scott's Cordell is the man in light, the man of the people, and Ryan's Sundance is the man in dark, a twitchy cold blooded psycho. Yes, there's the inevitability factor of it all, we know who is going to triumph here, but the build up is well handled and it does provide a very brisk and punch laden finale. There's nothing irritable in cast performances across the board, yes we want more from the roll call of actors playing under written villains, but story, as fantastical as it is, never sags and entertains from first minute to last. There's worse ways for Western fans to spend an hour and half, that's for sure! 6.5/10

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Best of the Badmen (1951)

Best of the Badmen (1951) features some of the best actors of classic Western's cinema, so I found it a disappointment that their involvement did not uplift this bland B-level story line.

"Anybody who doesn't wanna hang, step out and get shot!"

Re: Best of the Badmen (1951)

I must say I liked a bit more than you. Again, a decent timewaster.

Re: Best of the Badmen (1951)

Quantrill Raiders Ride Again!

Best of the Badmen is directed by William D. Russell and written by John Twist and Robert Hardy Andrews. It stars Robert Ryan, Claire Trevor, Robert Preston, Walter Brennan, Bruce Cabot, John Archer and Jack Buetel. It's a Technicolor production with cinematography by Edward Cronjager and music by Paul Sawtell.

"This story tells a forgotten chapter in the violent history of the West. Months after the tragic war between The States had ended there was still no peace on the Western Frontier."

William Russell's Western is an energetic entry into the pantheon of Oaters, it's one that involves the often filmed topic of the Jayhawkers or Bushwhackers who roamed the West causing hurt and pain in the aftermath of the Civil War. Best of the Badmen ropes in the brothers James and Younger, a few other scalawag types (Curly Ringo/Doc Butcher) and gives them a leader in the tall form of Robert Ryan's Jeff Clanton. How and why Clanton, and ex Union Major, joined the Confederate guerrilla unit? Is a nifty bit of story telling that adds a vengeful bite to what otherwise could have been standard B Western formula.

Once motives and character traits are established, film goes about its business with guts and determination. A fight, a pursuit or a sneaky act is never far from the plot, there's even a romantic thread that's not over stretched, allowing the splendidly attired Miss Trevor as the estranged Lilly Fowler to light up the screen. The narrative has some smarts about it, Clanton and his gang are out to ruin "The Fowler Agency" (an obvious nod to the Pinkerton Agency) which is run by dastardly Matthew Fowler (Preston), but although Clanton wants revenge on Fowler, he's still a good guy at heart and will not let his gang become murderous terrorists. Honour among thieves? Yes indeed, but of course it's not going to be all plain sailing when the group is full of such strong personalities.

Although clearly not an "A" list Western, the cast assembled is approaching "A" list quality. Ryan (The Naked Spur/The Day of the Outlaw/The Wild Bunch) in the genre speaks for itself, but he's also surrounding by an assortment of fine Western and film noir character actors. Preston (This Gun for Hire/Blood on the Moon), Trevor (Key Largo/Man Without a Star) and Brennan (Red River/My Darling Clementine), all deliver the expected committed performance. One of the film's weaknesses is under using some of the secondary performers, especially Lawrence Tierney (Dillinger/Born to Kill), who as Jesse James only gets a couple of lines! However, Bruce Cabot (King Kong/Fury) and John Archer (White Heat) do get to earn their pay. Rounding out the noticeable bad guys are Robert Wilke (High Noon/Night Passage), Jack Buetel (The Outlaw), Tom Tyler (Blood on the Moon) and John Cliff (River of No Return).

There's some distracting back screen work within the piece, and Cronjager's photography never gets a chance to shine, the latter not helped by a standard print of the film that needs a good scrub up. But the cast, story, action and execution of said story, definitely make this a better than average Western. 7/10

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: Best of the Badmen (1951)

Well done, Spike

Trail Street (1947)

Featuring the identical cast and director from the following year's Return of the Badmen, Trail Street (1947) is much more enjoyable. Robert Ryan, Randolph Scott & Gabby Hayes deliver substantially better efforts.

"Anybody who doesn't wanna hang, step out and get shot!"

Re: Trail Street (1947)

Ditto! Good duster.

Re: Trail Street (1947)

Not seen yet. Thanks for the heads up

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Wild Heritage (1958)

Wild Heritage (1958)

After traveling west, a family struggles to raise a homestead after the patriarch is gunned down.

Here's another tale similar to Pioneer Woman (1973) & She Came to the Valley (1979) except Wild Heritage is a lot better.

"Anybody who doesn't wanna hang, step out and get shot!"

Re: Wild Heritage (1958)

Good stuff A S, a new one to the board I think.

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Yellowstone Kelly (1959)

Yellowstone Kelly (1959)

This is one of those movies that really should be better than it is. It has great outdoor mountain scenes, decent cast, cavalry vs. Indians, a beautiful Indian maiden, acts of betrayals, fist fights and gunfights. Yet the whole thing just kind of crawls along and then thankfully ends.

"Anybody who doesn't wanna hang, step out and get shot!"

Re: Yellowstone Kelly (1959)

I seem to recall seeing this one years ago, but can't recall much about it. So on the re watch list it goes. Thanks for the reminder!!!

Re: Yellowstone Kelly (1959)

I'll tell you what happened. It either got sick, ran away or died. It's the same way with an Indian. You go trying to tame them, make them live white... it just won't work.

Yellowstone Kelly is directed by Gordon Douglas and adapted to screenplay by Burt Kennedy from the Clay Fisher (AKA: Heck Allen) book of the same name. It stars Clint Walker, Edd Byrnes, John Russell, Ray Danton, Claude Akins, Andra Martin and Rhodes Reason. A Technicolor production filmed out of Sedona and Coconino National Forest in Arizona, with music by Howard Jackson and cinematography by Carl Guthrie.

"The West was opened by courageous trail-blazing pioneers like Lewis and Clark and Luther "Yellowstone" Kelly - - trapper, surveyor, and Indian scout who was the first frontiersman to cross the mighty Yellowstone Valley."

A very well made Western, one that features some quite breath taking scenery captured by Carl Guthrie (Fort Massacre/Gunfight At Dodge City), Yellowstone Kelly falls into the category of straight conventional Oaters.

Story concerns fabled fur trapper Luther Kelly (Walker), who having saved the life of a Sioux chief (Russell) is allowed to move freely in the Sioux territories. However, he finds himself piggy in the middle when the oafish US Cavalry move in to shake their might at the Native Americans. Things are further complicated when he is forced to save the life of an Arapaho woman (Martin), who subsequently runs away from the Sioux's to seek shelter with Kelly and his newly acquired companion, greenhorn Anse Harper (Byrnes). With potential love in the air putting another problem into the equation, Kelly has much to carry on his mightily broad shoulders.

Originally slated to be a John Ford/John Wayne production (they decided to make The Horse Soldiers instead), Yellowstone Kelly is pretty much what it appears to be, that of a vehicle built around Walker as a device to push him forward as a lead actor. Unfortunately, in spite of his massive screen presence, Walker just didn't have the acting chops to be a grade "A" lead off man in film. Yet he was always watchable and engaging, such is the case here. The character of Kelly is interesting and around Walker are a number of TV stars and contract players to ensure there's a professional polish to the production.

There's no surprises in store or deep psychological stirrings, though one extended sequence of Walker and Byrnes shacked up in a log cabin is open to homo-erotic interpretation, and the host of white actors playing Native Americans will irritate some, but this moves along at a good clip and makes for a fun afternoon viewing experience. 6.5/10

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: Yellowstone Kelly (1959)

Originally slated to be a John Ford/John Wayne production (they decided to make The Horse Soldiers instead),

I would have liked to seen what they would have done with Kelly instead. The Horse Soldiers left me dry. It was evident that Wayne's & Holden's off-camera antagonism brings down what could have been a better movie.

"Anybody who doesn't wanna hang, step out and get shot!"

Rate it! Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957)…

6/10. Good chemistry between Lancaster and Douglas. And at least they got Doc right by being a dentist and NOT a surgeon (unlike the NOTORIOUSLY historically-inaccurate My Darling Clementine and the film with Cesar "Joker" Romero). So kudos for the writer/s for at least getting Doc right. Still there are much better Westerns.

I'll let you know when I come-up with a new signature, .

Re: Rate it! Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957)…

Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957)

I like it, though it has flaws for sure >

Doc and Wyatt.

The Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, Wednesday, October 26, 1881, gets an all star glossy Hollywood telling. Directed by John Sturges and adapted by Leon Uris from an article written by George Scullin. It stars Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Rhonda Fleming, Jo Van Fleet, John Ireland and Lyle Bettger. Music is by Dimitri Tiomkin and cinematography by Charles B. Lang Junior.

I don't want any part of him. I don't even like him.

Actually The Gunfight at the O.K. Corral as a title is something of a bum steer, for Sturges' two hour movie gives up just over five minutes to the actual event that continues to fascinate over 130 years later. In fact, for such a glorious sounding title, it's arguably surprising that there is very little action in the movie. For what unfolds in that two hour running time is what director (Sturges would be bemused by its success and ten years later took another stab at the legend and made Hour of the Gun) and leading actors agreed was a very talky movie, the emphasis is on a friendship, a love really, between John Henry "Doc" Holliday and Wyatt Berry Stapp Earp. This is one of the Western genre's greatest "buddy-buddy" movies.

Listen, preacher, being here is causing me a lot of embarrassment. Some people are even taking me for a lawman.

In spite of its talky nature and being very much a "town" Western, the film was hugely successful and became a leading forerunner for all star Westerns. It wasn't all sweetness and light, mind. In the beginning Douglas had already turned down the role of Earp before accepting the part of Holliday (Bogart was close, Palance and Widmark also considered) and Lancaster had to be "bribed" to take on the role of Wyatt (being pretty vociferous about the talky nature of the screenplay). The two leading men were initially at odds with each other, but they would form a respectful friendship from here on in and their chemistry as Doc and Wyatt is why the film succeeds as a "literate" piece.

All gunfighters are lonely. They live in fear. They die without a dime, a woman or a friend.

It has a mixed reputation amongst Western aficionados, which is understandable. Some of the dialogue is cheesy and the likes of Fleming and DeForest Kelley are in turn badly written and under used. There's also the historical fudging of the story and the sparsity of landscape photography, the latter of which a crime given it's a VistaVision Technicolor production. The town set designs often look artificial, a problem since 90% of the picture is set to town background, but if viewed as a story of a friendship set to the famous shoot-out, it strikes all the right notes; including Frankie Laine's warbling of the clippy cloppy catchy title tune. It should have been titled Doc and Wyatt, though. 8/10

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Western Tv: MACKENZIE'S RAIDERS "Death by the Numbers" 1958


MACKENZIE'S RAIDERS "Death by the Numbers" 1958

MACKENZIE'S RAIDERS was a syndicated western series that ran for a total of 39 episodes during 1958-59. The series has Richard Carlson playing the lead, US Cavalry officer, Ranald S MacKenzie. Mackenzie is in charge of a Cavalry unit based at Fort Clark in southwest Texas in 1873. It is the job of the unit to stop the raids into the US from Mexico by roving bands of outlaws.

In this episode, the third of the series, Army payroll wagons and their escorts are being wiped out on the way to Fort Clark. Carlson figures it must be a large group of outlaw types to overpower the wagon's escort.

Carlson puts up reward posters throughout the local district hoping for information on the bandits. He also keeps a close eye on a local shopkeeper, Charles Davis. Davis has been coming into more money than he should have. And right Carlson, as outlaw type, Gregg Martell is in cahoots with Davis.

Martell gets the upper hand on the cavalry escorts because he has a Gatling gun. This allows him to wipe out the escort leaving no witnesses. After the third wagon is ambushed, Carlson has had enough. He grabs up store-owner, Davis and forces him to ride along on the next payroll delivery.

Needless to say, Davis is not happy with this idea, and spills the beans on his partner in crime, Martell. Carlson sets up a play where he gets to ambush the outlaws instead. Lead flies and Martell is killed as is storekeeper, Davis.

There is a fair amount of gun-play and action that manages to overcome the rather tired story. Okay time-waster.

Re: Western Tv: MACKENZIE'S RAIDERS "Death by the Numbers" 1958

Mackenzie's Raiders (1958) - Death by the Numbers (1958)

You can never have enough Gatling Guns

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: Western Tv: MACKENZIE'S RAIDERS "Death by the Numbers" 1958

Like that statement!!!!!!!!!

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


TALES OF WELLS FARGO "The Lynching"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 7th of the series. Wells Fargo man Hardee (Dale Robertson) is on a stage escorting a shipment of gold. Travelling on board are two sheepherder types from the Basque area of Spain. The first one, Victor Millan, is dropped off at the first town. He is going to work watching a flock of sheep in the hill country. The second man, Frank DeKova, is going on to the next town. Only DeKova can speak English.

Robertson tells DeKova that he will stop on his way back and check on Millan in a few days. When Robertson hits town on his way back he finds that Millan is in the local jail. He has been charged with kidnapping a local 11 year old girl. The girl had wandered injured into Millan's camp and the man had tried to help. Shortly afterwards some of the locals out looking for the girl find Millan with her. The problem here is that nobody speaks Spanish.

Several of the town galoots, led by Claude Akins, are all for stringing up the funny talking foreigner from the nearest tree. The town sheriff, Sam Buffington, is more interested in getting elected than protecting his prisoner. Wells Fargo man Robertson steps up with a double barrelled and warns the folks off. He then sends for DeKova from the next burg down the line.

The mob moves to the nearest saloon for some liquid courage. After several shots of rot gut, the mob returns to the jail-house. DeKova arrives and translates what Millan has to say. The mob is not the least bit interested. Robertson needs to crack a couple of the bunch over the head with his shotgun. It is only the timely arrival of the little girl and her mother that stops the mob. The kid hugs the man, Millan, who had helped her. The mob now slinks away with bowed heads.

A pretty good episode with Akins playing the thick in the head bit to perfection.

Re: Western Tv: TALES OF WELLS FARGO "The Lynching"1957

Tales of Wells Fargo (1957) - The Lynching (1957)

Reads as a goodie

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: Western Tv: TALES OF WELLS FARGO "The Lynching"1957

This series so far has been quite good.

Re: Western Tv: TALES OF WELLS FARGO "The Lynching"1957

town galoots, led by Claude Akins

Caught my eye ! as did "thick in the head"

Hardly anyone did them better!




This one has the North against the South, brother against brother, Cavalry against the Apache along with a little romance thrown in. This 1951 Technicolor western was made by Pine-Thomas Productions and released through Paramount Pictures. The film stars, Ronald Reagan, Rhonda Fleming, Bruce Bennett, Noah Beery Jr, Hugh Beaumont, John Ridgely and Lloyd Corrigan.

The action is set in Arizona where Ronald Reagan is in charge of a small band of Confederate Cavalry. The unit is raiding Union wagon trains along the Santa Fe Trail. They take what they need and then burn the rest. Union Headquarters in Washington sends out a new officer, Bruce Bennett, to take charge of hunting down the Confederates.

Bennett plans an operation to rid the area of the Confederate gnats. The plan backfires and Bennett and his detachment are captured by Reagan and his men. Now the viewer finds out that Bennett and Reagan are actually brothers. One had stayed Union, and the other went with the Stars and Bars. Reagan takes the Union weapons, boots and then sets them free. Needless to say that Bennett is fuming by the time he and his men straggle back to the fort.

Complicating matters is local store-owner and whiskey trader, John Ridgely. Ridgely wants the US Army to enlist the aid of the local Apache tribes in the fight against the Confederates. Ridgely has sent this idea on to Washington. Ridgely of course would profit from this by selling rotgut and poor quality rifles to the Apache. Also in town is Ridgely's wife, Rhonda Fleming. Fleming and Bennett's brother, Reagan, had been an item back east before the war. When Reagan had left to join the South, Fleming had married Ridgely out of spite. The marriage is not a happy one.

Reagan and his merry band now capture a high ranking Union officer, Ewing Mitchell. Mitchell is out from Washington to see if Ridgely's idea of enlisting the Apache is valid. Reagan is horrified at the idea of the Apache on the warpath. He knows that they would attack everyone, north or south, once the blood lust set in.

Reagan dresses up in Mitchell's uniform and keeps the meeting with the Apache chiefs. He tells them that they should remain out of the war. Of course the old fly in the ointment appears. It seems that Ridgely has been killed by several warriors for selling them bad whiskey. The men had been captured are sitting in the town jailhouse. The Apache want Reagan to have them released. If Reagan can do this, the Apache will remain at peace. He is given 24 hours. Reagan agrees and heads for town.

Reagan and two of his men, Richard Crane and Noah Beery Jr, still dressed as Union types, hit town. They try to bluff their way into getting the prisoners released. Also in town is a government bigwig from Washington, Lloyd Corrigan. Corrigan is also looking into the Apache matter. Reagan's cover as a Union officer is nearly blown when Miss Fleming shows.

Matters do go sideways for Reagan when he is collared by his brother Bennett. Bennett, not wanting to have his own brother shot, lets him get away after he promises to leave the area. Reagan had no chose but to go along with the deal.

The next day, as Reagan and his unit are riding off they hear gunfire in the distance. The Apache have gathered and are attacking the town to recover their warriors. The badly outnumbered garrison is getting beat with the heavy end of the stick.

The Confederates come in hard and fast into the flank of the Apache attack. The fighting is brutal with plenty of dead and wounded on all sides. The Apache finally decide that they have had enough and retreat back into the hills.

The Union and Confederate types are momentarily comrades while the dead are buried, and the wounded patched up. Reagan and Bennett shake hands and Fleming promises to wait for Reagan till after the war ends.

For a Pine-Thomas production, this one has some heavy action. The "Dollar Bills", as William Pine and William Thomas were called, were known for mostly low end B films. This was their most expensive film to date, and was also their biggest moneymaker.

The director was the reliable B-film veteran, Lewis R Foster. Foster was a two time Oscar nominated and one time winning writer. (Mr. Smith goes to Washington)He also directed with, EL PASO, CAPTAIN CHINA, THE EAGLE AND THE HAWK, CRASHOUT and MANHANDLED as examples of his work. Handling the cinematography is another Oscar type, Loyal Griggs. The four time nominated, and two time winner, Griggs, is best known for lensing, THE TEN COMMANMENTS and the superb western, SHANE.

On the writing front there is also plenty of talent with Daniel Mainwaring, Winston Miller and George W Yates. Mainwaring is well known to noir fans for, THE BIG STEAL, ROUGHSHOD, ROADBLOCK, INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS and OUT OF THE PAST. Miller's work includes, RED MOUTAIN, THE BOUNTY HUNTER, MY DARLING CLEMENTINE, STATION WEST and BRANDED. Yates had a hand in, THE TALL TARGET, THEM and THIS WOMAN IS DANGEROUS.

The score thunders with, RALLY ROUND THE FLAG BOYS, when the Union types are in action, and BONNIE BLUE FLAG when the Southern boys charge.


The Last Outpost (1951)

I think I may have this somewhere, or it's on the TCM UK listings this year. Reagan rarely gets me up for a viewing, but this sounds lively.

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217


Reagan is actually quite good here. Normally I have always thought of the man as a so-so actor.

These Thousand Hills (1959)

These Thousand Hills (1959) is more like "these thousand stories". A poor cowboy builds up a cattle ranch, but along the way he befriends & spurns the town prostitute, marries the banker's daughter, runs for political office, contends with his best friend turned outlaw & faces off against the town bully (played excellently by the oily Richard Egan of course). Not a big fan of Don Murray but he manages to keep the story flowing in this top tiered B Western.

"Anybody who doesn't wanna hang, step out and get shot!"

Re: These Thousand Hills (1959)

Took this one in a few years ago. Don Murray just does not work for me. Ok, but nothing I would watch a second time. Egan shines as you say.

Re: These Thousand Hills (1959)

Remick any good mate?

Exteriors Filmed in Durango, which is always a splendid backdrop.

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: These Thousand Hills (1959)

The movie is very well made and Lee Remick is as cute as a button in this one but she doesnt smolder like she does in Anatomy of a Murder released in the same year.

"Anybody who doesn't wanna hang, step out and get shot!"

Re: These Thousand Hills (1959)

TBF, Anatomy of a Murder is a damn great film across the board

for getting back to me.

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

A few western Serials!

Adventures of Red Ryder (1940, John English, William Witney)
--- Adventures of Red Ryder (1940) has more action then substance, which is the case of just about all serials. This Republic Pictures 12-episode western lasting 3 1/2 hours has a straight-forward plot of railroad and land deeds, and Don 'Red' Barry, in his break-through role, is set on catching the bad men behind the land hustling. Noah Beery gives weight to the bad side and is the biggest personality here, but Barry gives it the energy. Adventures of Red Ryder is digestible with it's easy cowboy action and manages to entertain sufficient enough with it's popcorn mentality.

Deadwood Dick (1940, James W. Horne)
- Deadwood Dick (1940) is a cheesy western serial from Colombia Pictures which definitely didn't need to be 15 chapters and 4 hours and 45 minutes long! It's not the story of a handicapped porn star, nor is it based on the black cowboy who had some fame in the old west. Deadwood Dick is a fictional literary figure, a newspaper man who puts on a disguise becoming a hero (sounds familiar doesn't it). Standard small town stuff, and amusing in that unfocused serial way. The best thing was easily the main villain. A man in a black cloak wearing a skull mask! Looked so cartoonish that it brought a smile every time he was on!

Winners of the West (1940, Ford Beebe & Ray Taylor)
--- Universal Pictures' Winners of the West (1940) beats out Colombia and Republic Pictures western serials of 1940 by the slightest possible margin. It had the best cast and production values, but underneath the surface it's the same old serial mess and over 4 hours offering little else then action it's going to make it stand out much. Works as little kicks of thrills, but everything else is too hammy to make one care.

King of the Texas Rangers (1941, John English & William Witney)
--- The Republic Pictures serial King of the Texas Rangers (1941) stars American Football Hall of Famer Slingin' Sammy Baugh for a one-off cinema experience! And this sure had a ton of spectacular action making the 3 1/2 hours over 12 episodes enduring. They kind of had to keep Baugh busy so that he didn't have to talk much, for he was not a natural actor. But for the action scenes this multi-athlete knew his stuff!

And a few regular oaters, including 4 from the Range Busters…

Lightning Strikes West (1940, Harry Fraser)
--- The production values of is of the usual crappy poverty row level, but Lightning Strikes West (1940) might be the best Ken Maynard did at Colony Pictures, for the basic reason that they manage to keep the story flowing. That, and the sight of Maynard in disguise as a freakish looking drunken waiter!

Trailin' (1921, Lynn Reynolds)
--- Tom Mix starring in a pure paperback western called Trailin' (1921)! Fine piece of cowboy skills, especially when on horseback, though the script was a little thin compared to what was enfolding of Mix's unknown mother. Still a enjoyable silent western from one of the biggest silent screen cowboys.

The Trail of the Silver Spurs (1941, S. Roy Luby)
--- Trail of the Silver Spur (1941) is a somewhat spooky entry in Monogram's Range Busters series. Unfortunately the storytelling is a mess ruining a otherwise okay B-western. You get a little bit of everything, even a few songs, so fans of these type of films will find enjoyment on some level.

The Kid's Last Ride (1941, S. Roy Luby)
--- The Kid's Last Ride (1941) is a much too ordinary entry in The Range Busters franchise to make much of an impression. More boring then bad, but that was enough to make this a drag.

Wrangler's Roost (1941, S. Roy Luby)
--- From a story angle they were on to something taking on the legend of Black Bart, but the problem is that Monogram's Range Busters is a less creative version of Republic's Three Mesquiteers. The Mesquiteers series were pretty generic low budget westerns to begin with, so even if the Monogram series have two former Mesquiteers in it's line-up, it's even more bland this time around. So not much of a fan and Wrangler's Roost (1941) did nothing to change my mind.

Saddle Mountain Roundup (1941, S. Roy Luby)
--- Range Busters' Saddle Mountain Roundup (1941) is a average low budget western made bearable thanks to them making it a murder mystery. Not that this was much of a mystery, but at least it helped make Saddle Mountain Roundup a lot more enjoyable then most Range Busters entries.

Re: And a few regular oaters, including 4 from the Range Busters…

Keep them coming!