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

Re: YELLOW ROCK 2011: Michael Biehn, James Russo

Yellow Rock (2011)

Seems largely ignored. Lots of indifference towards it. I'll catch it when it hits UK cable.



The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: YELLOW ROCK 2011: Michael Biehn, James Russo

ehh, has all the makings of a low budget tv movie, I've seen worse. It's okay for a one-time. I gave it a 4.

1-3 crap / 4-7 hit or miss / 8-10 favorable

Western Tv TALES OF WELLS FARGO "Sam Bass"1957

CONTAINS SPOILERS

TALES OF WELLS FARGO "Sam Bass"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 10th of the series. Wells Fargo man, Hardee (Dale Robertson) is sent to Texas to help the Texas Rangers corral outlaw, Sam Bass. Wells Fargo is on the hook for a 60,000 dollar shipment of gold Bass and his men grabbed. Bass, (Chuck Connors) is always one step ahead of the law as he hides out in the Texas scrub country.

The local Texas Ranger, Ray Teal, and Robertson come up with a plan to insert Robertson into Connors' gang. They pull a fake hold-up and chase Robertson out into the scrub where they pretend to lose him. Sure enough, Bass and his boys come a looking at what all the fuss was about.

Bass takes a liking to Robertson after Robertson lays a pounding on one of the gang, Pat Hogan. Also in the group are Michael Landon and Ric Roman.

Bass has inside info that the local bank is getting in another load of gold coin. They have a plan to gobble up the shipment and hightail it back to the safety of the woods.

Robertson manages to sneak a message to Ranger Teal about the upcoming job. Teal and a heavily armed posse are soon waiting for the Bass gang. As the gang approaches the bank, Robertson ducks into a handy doorway. The Rangers now open up on the outlaws killing Hogan and Roman. Connors gets away after collecting a few pieces of lead. Robertson follows him and finds him just before Bass dies of his wounds.

Not bad, if you ask me, it is always interesting to see Michael Landon in a pre- BONANZA role. Ray Teal had a long spell as a regular as well on BONANZA. He played the local sheriff.

This was another episode made entirely on the back lot. I've seen them pass the same set of phony rocks a good half dozen times.

Re: Western Tv TALES OF WELLS FARGO "Sam Bass"1957

Tales of Wells Fargo (1957) - Sam Bass (1957)



I've seen them pass the same set of phony rocks a good half dozen times.





The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Western Tv: JOHNNY RINGO "Ghost Coach" 1959

CONTAINS SPOILERS

JOHNNY RINGO "Ghost Coach" 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 eighth of the series.

Sheriff Don Durant and his Deputy, Mark Goddard, are returning to Velardi from a prisoner drop at a nearby town. A sudden dust storm brews up and the men seek shelter in an abandoned mine. They get a surprise when they discover an old Union Army coach inside the mine. Inside the coach is a skeleton and papers dating from the Civil War. Durant has the stage brought in and stored at the local livery stable.

He has Deputy Goddard send off a telegram to the War Department about the coach. Several days later, one of the town's people is gunned down in his office. There are no witnesses.

Now an Officer of the US Army arrives about the coach. The man, Carl Benton Reid, says he was in the area and was sent to look after the coach. Another man, John Harmon, is found murdered that night in the livery stable beside the coach. A third man, Philip Pine, is grabbed up as a possible suspect by Durant. The man, Pine, swears he is innocent but wants to leave town. He will not say why he needs to leave. Durant gives Pine a night in jail to cool his heels. Maybe he will talk the next day.

Army man Reid approaches the Deputy, Goddard, and tells him that Sheriff Durant has approved the release of Pine to his custody. Goddard does just that and Reid and Pine ride off. Durant had given no such permission.

Now we find out that Reid has been bumping off all the dead men. He also intends to deep six Pine. The dead men were all Army deserters. Their desertion had caused the death of Reid's son. He intends revenge. Of course Sheriff Durant interrupts Reid's plan. Pine still ends up dead as he tries to bump off both Durant and Reid.

This twisty episode was written by longtime writing duo, William Link and Richard Levinson. The two were the brains behind television series such as, COLUMBO, MANNIX and MURDER SHE WROTE.

The director here was long time serial and b-film helmsman, John English.

Re: Western Tv: JOHNNY RINGO "Ghost Coach" 1959

Johnny Ringo (1959) - Ghost Coach (1959)

A twister and turner. Nice!



The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Western Tv: YANCY DERRINGER "The Belle from Boston" 1958

CONTAINS SPOILERS

YANCY DERRINGER "The Belle From Boston" 1958

This 1958-59 series is about a card sharp, who returns home to New Orleans three years after the end of the Civil War. The man, Jock Mahoney, finds the city full of Northern carpet bagging types. He is secretly put to work as an undercover man by the city commissioner, Kevin Hagen. Mahoney is to keep Hagen advised on the various low-life types running wild in the city. He does this with the help of his Pawnee bodyguard, X. Brands. The series ran for a total of 34 episodes.

In this episode, the sixth of the series, we have Yancy Derringer, (Jock Mahoney) being asked to keep an eye on New Orleans' City commissioner's (Kevin Hagen) sister. The sister, Noreen Nash, has had her life threatened by local gang boss, Leo Gordon. Gordon has sworn to get even with Hagen because Hagen had his brother strung up for murder.

Gordon has already made several attempts at Hagen's life. Gordon now figures that Miss Nash, visiting from Boston might be an easier target. Nash however wants to be shown the town and needs protection. Hagen puts his pal, Mahoney and his Pawnee, X Brands on the case. Mahoney brings in extra help with gambling house owner, Frances Bergen.

Mahoney and company are kept busy as thug Gordon has set half a dozen or so plans in motion. It is more by good luck than skill that Mahoney and group keep Miss Nash alive. The last attempt on Nash goes badly for Gordon as he gets his hair combed with the butt end of a sawed off shotgun. Miss Nash is sent off on the first boat heading out of New Orleans.

This is a brisk episode, with plenty of violence and several good lines. Six episodes in and all have been entertaining.

Re: Western Tv: YANCY DERRINGER "The Belle from Boston" 1958

Yancy Derringer (1958) - The Belle from Boston (1958)

Yer enjoying this show mate.

Thanks

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Western tv: JOHNNY RINGO "Four Came Quietly" 1960

CONTAINS SPOILERS

JOHNNY RINGO "Four Came Quietly" 1960

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 17th of the series.

Sheriff Don Durant's girl, Karen Sharpe is being hit upon by a cowpoke type. The man, L.Q. Jones, wants a kiss and a cuddle and will not take no for an answer. Durant is summoned and gives the young buck a first rate curb stomping. He then tosses the idiot in the town jail.

Jones soon pulls an escape with a pistol supplied by a local woman, Eve McVeagh, who has taken a shine to the lad. Jones gets the drop on Deputy Mark Goddard in order to get out of the jail.

The escape is however foiled by Sheriff Durant who arrives at the same time. L.Q. goes for his piece and is dropped in the street by the straighter shooting Durant. Durant and Goddard figure Jones must have had a hideaway gun they missed.

Several days later, four rather large unsavoury types, Gordon Polk, Tom Newman, Wayne Tucker and Jay C. Flippen come a calling at the jailhouse. The heavily armed bunch, are the father and three brothers of the dead, Jones.

The men quickly disarm Durant and Goddard and fire the pair into the same cell as Jones had been in. The thugs collect all the firearms except one pistol. This they leave behind telling Durant they will be waiting outside. They also inform Durant that they intend on paying Miss Sharpe a call after killing him.

Miss McVeagh, feeling bad about giving Jones the gun that got him killed, passes another pistol into the jail. As she is doing this, one of Jones kinfolk unloads a shotgun into Miss McVeagh.

Durant and Goddard exit the jail firing as they come. Both men being crack shots, does not hurt matters in the exchange of lead. Jay c Flippen and bunch are soon laid out all pretty like for a trip on the Boot Hill Express.

This is a pretty entertaining episode with more than a fair bit of gun play and violence. L.Q. Jones is a hoot as he plays the leering, female grabbing lowlife.

There is some fine talent on the behind the camera crew here as well. The director is veteran B western man, R.G. Springsteen. Springsteen was a staple at Republic Pictures helming over 60 low end programmers during his decade at the Studio.

The director of photography was film noir specialist, Carl Guthrie. His work in that genre included, CRY WOLF, FLAXY MARTIN, BACKFIRE, CAGED, THIS SIDE OF THE LAW, UNDERCOVER GIRL, STORM WARNING, HELL BOUND and the superb, HIGHWAY 301.

Re: Western tv: JOHNNY RINGO "Four Came Quietly" 1960

Johnny Ringo (1959)- Four Came Quietly (1960)

Yes some good names attached to this one. Good work as always Gord

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

THE LAST POSSE 1953 Superb duster

CONTAINS SPOILERS

THE LAST POSSE 1953

This rather under-rated, and under seen western film from Columbia Pictures is a diamond in the rough. The film stars Broderick Crawford, Charles Bickford, Henry Hull, John Derek, Skip Homeier, Warner Anderson and Wanda Hendrix.

The film starts with a group of men riding out of the New Mexico desert into the town of Roswell. The men were all part of a posse out chasing three men who had stolen 105,000 in cash. Among the group is aging, has-been Sheriff, John Frazier. (Broderick Crawford) Crawford is gravely wounded and is not expected to live. The film now goes in to a series of flashbacks to explain what happened to the posse, and the reasons for its forming.

This one is full of double dealing, revenge, murder and good old fashioned greed. The whole thing is connected by the town Sheriff, Broderick Crawford, a drunk to some, a hero to others. The film is played out against the stark backdrop of the desert. Normally I would go into detail on the story, but not this time, the viewer really needs to see it unfold for himself.

The cast and crew are all excellent here delivering a top bit of western entertainment. The director, the always reliable Albert Werker lets the cast of old pros (Crawford, Hull, Bickford)do their stuff. The young actors (Derek, Homeier, Hendrix) seem to feed off the others and all deliver good performances. Cinematographer Burnett Guffey gives the whole production a nice sharp look.

Amazing how a film like this seems to have slipped through the cracks. Well worth a look.

Re: THE LAST POSSE 1953 Superb duster

First viewing Gord?

You liked it just a touch more than me but I'll happily join you in supporting it. I said this back in 2011 >


What's he trying to do-die with his boots on?

The Last Posse is directed by Alfred L. Werker and co-written by Seymour Bennett, Connie Bennett and Kenneth Gamet. It stars Broderick Crawford, Charles Bickford, John Derek and Wanda Hendrix. Primary location used for the shoot is Lone Pine, Alabama Hills, California, with Burnett Guffey on photography duties. Out of Columbia Pictures, story tells of how a returning posse on the trail of outlaw robbers, return to Roswell, New Mexico, minus their leader and with their accompanying sheriff critically wounded.

Much better than its B movie origins, The Last Posse is strong in characterisations, visually smart and being structured as it is, primarily in flashback, also getting a bit of unusual intrigue tossed into the Oatmeal. It's also very well acted, with Crawford and Bickford making for a nice gruff opposing pair, and the support cast is filled with solid performers like Henry Hull, Warner Anderson and Skip Homeier. Director Werker (He Walked By Night) does a good job of keeping the story nicely paced, dotting the plot with some well staged action along the way, and the finale, thankfully not telegraphed, doesn't disappoint at all. But in the main it's the writing and Guffey's photography that lifts it above average. The various members of the posse are either troubled or driven by motive, making for a good psychological mix, and this in turn is well realised by Guffey's crisp black and white photography of the Lone Pine, Alabama Hills landscapes. The numerous boulders and odd shaped rocks impose on the characters and the desert flats make a grim stage for the unfolding story.

Easily recommended to the Western movie fan. 7/10


The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: THE LAST POSSE 1953 Superb duster

Yes.

Western Tv YANCY DERRINGER "Loot from Richmond" 1958

CONTAINS SPOILERS

YANCY DERRINGER "Loot from Richmond" 1958

This 1958-59 series is about a card sharp, who returns home to New Orleans three years after the end of the Civil War. The man, Jock Mahoney, finds the city full of Northern carpet bagging types. He is secretly put to work as an undercover man by the city commissioner, Kevin Hagen. Mahoney is to keep Hagen advised on the various low-life types running wild in the city. He does this with the help of his Pawnee bodyguard, X. Brands. The series ran for a total of 34 episodes.

In this episode, the seventh of the series, we have Yancy Derringer, (Jock Mahoney) being approached by a friend of Derringer's old General in the late war. The man, Jon Hole, is killed by a gunman before he can deliver the message from the General.

Mahoney and his bodyguard, X Brands decide to pay a visit to the home of the General, Carl Benton Reid. They arrive at the plantation and find that the General is being buried. He had died the 3 days before. Mahoney does not believe a word of it and decides to dig into the matter.

Sure enough, there is villainy afoot. The General is found trussed up in one of the plantation out buildings. It seems that the whole thing is over a half million in gold coins. The money is part of the Confederate treasury that went missing after the war.

Reid had been in charge of protecting the money. Reid had kept the gold hidden, but has now decided it is time to turn it over to the US Government. The hidden gold was discovered by a dastardly underling, Dennis Patrick, who was on the General's staff. He has decided to keep the cash for himself.

Needless to say Mahoney and his Pawnee pal, X Brands, step up and try and save the day. The gold, hidden in a bale of cotton, has been loaded on a Mississippi riverboat. Guns, knives and a sword are needed to dispatch Patrick and his hired gunmen. The gold however is lost overboard and is now on the bottom of "Big Muddy".

Re: Western Tv YANCY DERRINGER "Loot from Richmond" 1958

Yancy Derringer (1958) - Loot from Richmond (1958)

Thanks Gord

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Western Tv TALES OF WELLS FARGO "The Hijackers"1957

CONTAINS SPOILERS

TALES OF WELLS FARGO "The Hijackers"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 11th of the series. Wells Fargo man, Hardee (Dale Robertson) is in the Dakota country when one of the local Wells Fargo stagecoaches goes missing. Robertson follows the same route the missing stage took and comes up on a trio of men, Jack Elam, Fred Carson and Glen Strange. The trio fire off several shots at Robertson and tell him to take off.

Of course such behaviour has the opposite reaction on our Wells Fargo Detective. Robertson simply uses a different trail and sneaks up on the lookout, Jack Elam. A brisk exchange of fists and Elam is quickly laid out. Robertson now follows the stagecoach tracks to an abandoned ghost town. The town had died out when the local gold strike petered out.

Robertson finds the stage and has a look around the town. He is however grabbed up by the other two outlaws, Strange and Carson. They are soon joined by a mad as a hornet Elam. Elam gives Robertson a few punches to the gut to make up for the beating he had received.

Robertson is now tossed in a room with two passengers off the missing stage. The two, Joyce Meadows and Harry Harvey Jr are being held for ransom. Harvey's father is a big time rancher with a fair sized bank account. Elam figures that Wells Fargo might add a few thousand to get Robertson back in breathing condition.

A ransom note is sent off to the town down the line. Robertson finds out from Harvey and Miss Meadows that Elam and his bunch had killed the stagecoach driver and guard. Robertson is of course not going to let this slide.

Robertson manages to break free of the room and leads Elam and group on a merry chase through the ghost town. Helping Robertson out is a big dust storm that has blown in. Robertson jumps Elam and disarms him. He then plugs the other two as they come out of the dust storm. Harvey and Meadows are released, Elam is tossed in the stage and all head back to the first town. Elam has a date with a long fall with a short piece of rope.

This is a fast moving episode with plenty of action. Direction is supplied by B-western vet, John English. Helping with the look of the episode is one time Oscar nominated cinematographer, John L Russell. Russell got his Oscar nod for Hitchcock's, PSYCHO.

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

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

Frankenstein and Jack Elam! Same thing maybe?



The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

OKLAHOMA TERRITORY 1960

CONTAINS SPOILERS

OKLAHOMA TERRITORY 1960

This one is a low budget duster put out by independent producer, Robert E Kent. The cast includes, Bill Williams, Ted de Corcia, Gloria Talbott, Walter Sande and Grant Richards.

This one has Sam Houston's son, Temple, (Bill Williams) working as a district attorney for the Oklahoma Territory. Williams is riding through the scrub country when he comes up on a gun battle being waged. On one side are several Cherokee including local Chief, de Corcia. On the other side are a handful of cowboys.

Williams gets the drop on the cowboy types and disarms them. The men show Williams a warrant they have for the arrest of the Chief. Williams, who has known de Corsia for years, has the man come to town in order to straighten the matter out.

Things turn out to be not so simple. There are witnesses who claim to have seen de Corcia kill the local Indian agent. Williams is forced to hand over the Chief to the local law, Walter Sande. In the mix now is de Corcia's son, X Brands and daughter, Gloria Talbott. Both say that their father is being framed. Williams of course ends up being the man who is in charge of prosecuting their father.

The court day arrives and any witnesses for de Corcia, are now dead or unable to be found. The Chief is found guilty and sentenced to be strung up. Now the viewer finds out the whole affair is indeed a frame-up. Local businessman Grant Richards is trying to prod the Cherokee into going on the warpath. Such an action would cancel the treaty and the tribe would lose their land.

Needless to say, that is exactly what the tribe intends to do. They even make a small attempt to break de Corcia out of the crowbar hotel. Williams, after looking over the evidence again, is starting to smell a large rodent in play. He is sure when Richards and some political types offer him the Governor's job.

Williams of course finds the evidence needed to quash the charges against the Chief. Richards and his henchmen are shot, or gobbled up for a date of their own with the rope.

This Edward L Cahn directed low renter is better than I was expecting. With only a 67 minute runtime it moves along at a decent enough clip. B-film specialist, Cahn is best known for the 1950's sci-fi classic, IT! THE TERROR FROM BEYOND SPACE.

Re: OKLAHOMA TERRITORY 1960

Oklahoma Territory (1960)

Cheap, quick, but fun. Nothing wrong with that! G

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

The Westerner (1940)

The Westerner (1940)


Law West of the Pecos.

The Westerner is directed by William Wyler and written by Niven Busch, Jo Swerling and Stuart N. Lake. It stars Gary Cooper, Walter Brennan, Fred Stone and Doris Davenport. Music is by Dimitri Tiomkin and cinematography by Gregg Toland.

Story is a fictionalised account about Judge Roy Bean (Brennan), who here rules Vingaroon Town by his own law and punishment. When suspected horse thief Cole Harden (Cooper) comes under his judicial system, they become odd friends due to Harden claiming to know personally Lily Langtree - the object of Bean's worship.

Lots of uncredited work was involved in the making of The Westerner, while Cooper famously sulked about not having the main character role, so much so his part was expanded and he performed under contract but under protest! Fact is is that it is as everyone has said before, Brennan steals the film regardless, winning a Best Supporting Actor Oscar in the process. Cooper needn't have worried, he's very good here, turning in a number of various strains to Harden's character, bouncing off of Brennan to the pics eternal benefit.

At the core of the plot is a good old fashioned thread involving Homesteaders versus Cattlemen, with Bean throwing his weight around and Harden forced to reevaluate his standing in the town when he falls for Jane Ellen Mathews (Davenport). The Lily Langtree (Lilian Bond) strand gives the pic an offbeat sensibility, making this a sort of dramatic comedy oater, but it works really well. Toland's photography is superb, sharp black and white sequences are given ethereal qualities, hinting at the fact this at times fun picture might be leading to a darker path?

Davenport is weak and most of the supporting players struggle to make much of an impact, but come the attention grabbing finale you know you have been fed a wholesome western of substance. Propelled by two acting legends. 7/10


The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: The Westerner (1940)

Gad! It must be over 20 years since I saw this one. It took your write-up to jog the old brain cells in order to recall anything. On the re-watch list it goes. Thanks! Tick is on the way.

Ramrod(1947), A thunder of drums(1961) and Apache Territory(1958)

A Thunder of Drums (1961)
A wooden George Hamilton in this very dull movie (even with the usually excellent Richard Boone in it). There supposed to be conflict with the Colonel/love triangle where the other protagonist dies rather conveniently.

I can't recommend this at all 3/10 (4 just for Richard Boone). -1 for *no* drums. I didn't hear a single drum through out the movie. 😔 Avoid.

Ramrod (1947)
A B/W western (which I usual don't/can't watch) from the 40s. It is okay as per the 40's western and has lot of action for the decade. I didn't really enjoy it but perhaps that is due to B/W photography.

I would say 5/10 (but perhaps some may enjoy it). You are on your own with this one.

Apache Territory (1958)
I have a feeling I may have mentioned this before but can't remember. About halfway thru the movie I got the impression I have seen it and then some scenes later it was confirmed that I had seen it. Nonetheless, I went thru to the end. It is very much a B western but the ratings should be more than 5.7.

I quite liked this one where a group of people are trapped near a watering hole in the desert with the Injuns out to get them. But hey, they have Rory Calhoun as the leader so no worries. 😉 Nothing we haven't seen before but it was very well directed although you could easily tell most it was in the studio.

I enjoyed it very much 8/10 (for the scenery plus excellent direction). Recommended.


Re: Ramrod(1947), A thunder of drums(1961) and Apache Territory(1958)

Thanks for the reviews. Still need to see Apache Territory.

Ramrod(1947), A Thunder of Drums(1961) and Apache Territory(1958)

Hiya Rob

A Thunder of Drums (1961). I definitely liked more than yourself >


It's not my advice, Mr, it's the rule of the game...

..Bachelors make the best soldiers, all they have to lose is their loneliness.


A Thunder of Drums is directed by Joseph Newman and written by James Warner Bellah. It stars Richard Boone, George Hamilton, Luana Pattern, Arthur O'Connell, Charles Bronson, Richard Chamberlain, Duane Eddy and Slim Pickens. Out of MGM it's filmed on location at Old Tuscon & Sabino Canyon in Arizona, and also at Vasquez Rocks, California. It's filmed in CinemaScope and Metrocolor, with cinematography by William W. Spencer and music scored by Harry Sukman.

"There are three things a man can do to relieve the boredom of these lonely one troop posts: He can drink himself into a straight-jacket: He can get his throat cut chasing squaws: Or he can dedicate himself to the bleak monastic life of a soldier and become a great officer."

It's proved to be a divisive film amongst Western aficionados, and it's not hard to understand why. The film begins with a pre credit sequence of suggested savagery, a real attention grabber, then the credits role and the colour and vistas open up the story. From here we are placed into the lonely and fretful life at a cavalry fort in the Southwest. The company consists of tough grizzled Captain Maddocks (Boone) who carries around a burden from his past, his ire further inflamed by the arrival of greenhorn Lt. Curtis McQuade (Hamilton). He needs experienced men, not fresh faced kids, and McQuade isn't helping himself by being involved in a love triangle with Lt. Thomas Gresham's (James Douglas) lady, Tracey Hamilton (Patten). This coupled with the threat imposed by the Indians puts strain on all involved at Fort Canby. And there's the crux of the matter, the film is more interested with character dynamics than breaking out into an action packed B ranked Western.

Newcomers to the film should prepare for a talky picture, but it is a very good talky picture. Sure there's action, including a well staged battle in the final quarter (check out those Apache suddenly appearing from the rocks like ghosts!), but this is a film that is being propelled by dialogue, well written dialogue. There is no point in saying that it's well cast because it isn't, Boone is immense and intense and gets the best dialogue of all, but Hamilton is miscast and Patten totally unconvincing. Pickens is hardly in it and Bronson has a character that could be any number of things; someone who it's hard to know if we should dislike or cheer on. While Chamberlain and Eddy are in it to look nice and play the banjo respectively. Yet with the photography suitably keeping the landscape arid and harsh, and the mood around the base one of impending death or boredom (even the levity of a drunken sequence only enforces what little joy is around), the film has much going for it by way of psychology.

It's no "She Wore A Yellow Ribbon" of course, and its problems are evident, but it does have merits, and if for nothing else it deserves a look for Boone's excellent performance. 7/10


Apache Territory (1958)


A thousand hells at Papago Wells!

Apache Territory is directed by Ray Nazarro and collectively adapted to screenplay by George W. George, Charles R. Marion and Frank L. Moss from the novel Last Stand at Papago Wells written by Louis L'Amour. It stars Rory Calhoun, Barbara Bates, John Dehner, Carolyn Craig, Tom Pittman, Frank DeKova and Leo Gordon. Music is by Mischa Bakaleinikoff and cinematography by Irving Lippman.

Saddle Tramp Logan Cates (Calhoun) takes control of an assorted group of civilians and cavalrymen when they are thrust together by fate and come under siege from marauding Apache Indians. With inner conflict threatening the group and the Apache attacking like ghosts of the desert, their chance of survival is slim. But why does Calhoun keep looking at the sky?

Canteen Bombs of the Apocalpyse.

Routine and of standard siege formula stock, Apache Territory is however brisk and enjoyable if willing to forgive the clichés and stereotypes. Plot unfolds as a group dynamic cracking under the strain whilst the nasty old Indians attack at intervals and use psychological warfare in the process. Within the group there's a double dose of love interest, with one of them featuring Calhoun and Bates as old lovers now thrust together under trying circumstance. Into the mix are a coward, an aloof racist, a cavalry Sergeant struggling to control his group, a hero in waiting and a Prima Indian who hates the Apache and also has some gold in his possession. So with no food and the water running dry, it's shaping up to be a hopeless situation.

Gila monster up the trouser leg?

Clocking in at just over 70 minutes the film never outstays its welcome, and in spite of the standard characterisations on the page, the cast do well to keep things pleasingly watchable. Calhoun (Powder River/The Hired Gun) makes for a good rugged hero, leading off the film with some telling gusto, New Yorker DeKovo (Run of the Arrow/Arrowhead) once again doesn't embarrass himself in another Native American role, while Dehner (Apache/The Fastest Gun Alive) and Gordon (Hondo/7th Cavalry) show why they were much used character actors. Filmed in Eastman Color, the budget just about stretched to feature some views of Red Rock Canyon, but mostly the action is based on a sound stage set. 6/10

There is sad trivia attached to the film. Within 12 years of this film's release three of the principal cast members would be dead. Bates in 1969 and Craig in 1970 died at their own hands and young Tom Pittman was killed in a car accident just a couple of months after Apache Territory was released to theatres, he was 26 years old.


Ramrod (1947). I haven't seen but do own. It's regularly put forward as a Western Noir, which is just fine by me since I love Noir.

Robie



The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: Ramrod(1947), A Thunder of Drums(1961) and Apache Territory(1958)

Thanks Spike. Each to their own as they say.

I have seen one more western and will put up my 'so called review' 😀 up on it soon. 😉

Re: Ramrod(1947), A Thunder of Drums(1961) and Apache Territory(1958)

We don't ever have to agree my mate, this thread is never about that, we welcome divisive opinions, keeps our Westerns world moving

I have seen a couple this week so will be posting reviews over the weekend



The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Western Tv WHISPERING SMITH "The Interpreter" 1961

CONTAINS SPOILERS

WHISPERING SMITH "The Interpreter" 1961

WHISPERING SMITH was western star Audie Murphy's attempt at headlining a series. Murphy plays a member of the Denver Police Force in the late 1860's. The series follows Murphy and his partner, Guy Mitchell, as they chase various unsavoury types and bring them to justice. The series ran for 26 episodes between May and November 1961.

This episode is the 22nd of the production run.

This one starts with Audie Murphy and his partner being called out to a murder in the Italian section of Denver. Paul Picerni, a Sicilian interpreter is grabbed up by the law for killing a local. Picerni swears the shooting was in self-defence. He says that some Mafia types from the old country are trying to take over the area.

None of the local folk will step up and second Picerni's version of the story. Murphy hauls Picerni off to the crowbar inn for a stay. Something however does not sit right with the Lawman about the killing. Of course Murphy digs further into the matter.

Soon a fortune teller, Sara Taft, tells Murphy and Mitchell that the locals are scared of the Mafia. Taft tells Murphy to go after local Al Ruscio. Miss Taft says that if Murphy can get Ruscio to talk about the murder, other witnesses will step up.

The mafia guy, Johnny Seven, decides that Murphy is becoming a problem and that he must go. Seven sets up a hit, but is warned by Ruscio about the play. Hit-man Seven is soon ventilated with several un-needed .44 caliber sized holes. The locals now come out of the woodwork to testify for Picerni.

Not a very good episode at all.

Re: Western Tv WHISPERING SMITH "The Interpreter" 1961

Whispering Smith (1961) - The Interpreter (1961)

Denver Mafia - Boooooooooo!

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Western TV:TALES OF WELLS FARGO "Stage to Nowhere"1957

CONTAINS SPOILERS


TALES OF WELLS FARGO "Stage to Nowhere"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 12th of the series. Wells Fargo man, Hardee (Dale Robertson) is riding a stage taking in hold-up man, Walter Coy. Coy is the leader of a gang accused of murdering a Wells Fargo clerk during a robbery. Coy was captured and fingered as the gunman.

On the stagecoach is Denver newspaper man, Lyle Talbot. He is going to write up the trial. Also on the stage is a woman, Barbara Eiler and her son, Bobby Clark. Up top is the stage driver and shotgun rider. Now we find out the outlaw is really the father of the young lad, and that Eiler is his estranged wife.

Adding to the mix is that Coy's gang is waiting up the road. They intend to spring Coy and kill all the passengers etc. The more that Coy sees and talks to the boy, Clark, the less he thinks about escaping. He tells Robertson that he is innocent of the murder. But he has no proof.

The gang now steps out and ambushes the stagecoach, killing the driver and shotgun man. Robertson hustles the rest out and behind the cover of some handy rocks. Robertson decides to take a chance and hands Coy a gun. He is sure Coy does not want his kin killed.

There is now a swift and bloody exchange of rounds between the two groups. The outlaw types go down dead or wounded. The one man admits that he was the man who killed the Wells Fargo clerk. Coy will still need to do time for robbery but the murder beef will go away. Miss Eiler and the boy, Clark, tell Coy that they will wait for him to do his time.

This one goes by quite fast with an interesting, if shopworn story, and plenty of gunplay. Ex-big screen director, Sidney Salkow does a good job moving the story along. Long-time Hollywood writer, Steve Fisher supplies the story and screenplay. One time Oscar nominated Bud Thackery gives the episode a sharp look. Cinematographer Thackery was an old hand at westerns having been a regular with the B-unit at Republic Pictures. He worked on over 400 films and television episodes.

Re: Western TV:TALES OF WELLS FARGO "Stage to Nowhere"1957

Tales of Wells Fargo (1957) - Stage to Nowhere (1957)

Shoot em' up!

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

WICHITA 1955 Excellent Joel McCrea Duster

After being reminded of this one by Spike a while back, I finally got around to taking it in. I saw it many, many moons ago and only recalled the odd part. Thanks for the reminder.

CONTAINS SPOILERS

WICHITA 1955

This Allied Artists film is a Cinemascope production shot in vibrant Technicolor. This western stars Joel McCrea, Vera Miles, Lloyd Bridges, Edgar Buchanan, Carl Benton Reid, Mae Clarke, Robert Wilkie, Jack Elam, Wallace Ford, Peter Graves and Walter Sande. Joel McCrea plays Wyatt Earp here.

McCrea is travelling to Wichita Kansas to look into setting up a business. He has a small fortune saved up from his buffalo hunting days. He meets up with a group of cattlemen running a herd of beef to the rail-head at Wichita. The boss, Walter Sande, offers Earp some grub and a place to bed down that night.

Two of the cowhands, Lloyd Bridges and Rayford Barnes lift McCrea's cash during the night. This shall we say causes more than a little ill will. McCrea takes his cash back and thumps Bridges for his troubles. This of course sets up for some violence later on.

McCrea hits town and soon makes friends with local newsman, Wallace Ford, and his reporter, Bat Masterson, played by Keith Larson. McCrea impresses the local town big shots when he foils a robbery at the town bank. They offer him the job as Town Marshal. McCrea turns the offer down.

McCrea however takes up the badge after a small boy is shot by a bunch of drunken cowboys. He collars the cowpokes and fires the whole mess of them into jail. There is now a series of events that has McCrea at odds with the cowboys, some of the town elders and one of the saloon owners, Edgar Buchanan.

The biggest bone of contention is the new law of McCrea's of no guns to be carried in town. McCrea also finds time during all this to step out with pretty Vera Miles. Miles is the daughter of one of the town's leading citizens, Walter Coy. Coy is not happy about this and tries to stop Miles from seeing McCrea.

Saloon owner Buchanan hires a couple of out of town guns to eliminate McCrea. Too bad for Buchanan, that the two, Peter Graves and John Smith, are actually two more of the Earp brothers. McCrea gives Buchanan an hour to leave town.

Needless to say Buchanan does not take the ejection well. He returns that night with Jack Elam and Rayford Barnes. The attempted killing misses McCrea and gets Miss Miles mother, Mae Clarke, instead.

McCrea and his brothers are soon in hot pursuit. Elam and Barnes are quickly ran to ground and dispatched. Buchanan however escapes. He meets up with the cow-poke pals of Elam and Barnes. He soon has the group whipped up for a spot of revenge on McCrea and company. We all know how this is going to end.

This is a much better than expected western with fine work from the entire cast and crew. The film was helmed by Jacques Tourneur. Tourneur is most well known as the director of the noir classic, OUT OF THE PAST. The man worked in several genres and put out more than a few excellent films. These include, CAT PEOPLE, THE LEOPARD MAN, BERLIN EXPRESS, CANYON PASSAGE, STARS IN MY CROWN, NIGHT OF THE DEMON and NIGHTFALL.

The look of the film is top flight with Harold Lipstein handling the cinematography duties. His work include the westerns, WALK THE PROUD LAND, CHIEF CRAZY HORSE, DRUMS ACROSS THE RIVER, NO NAME ON THE BULLET, AMBUSH , HELL IS FOR HEROES and NO QUESTIONS ASKED.

Look close and you will see former early western star, Franklyn Farnum as well as McCrea's son, Jody, in small bits.

Re: WICHITA 1955 Excellent Joel McCrea Duster

Yep, a little cracker. I'll repost my review to sit with yours in case we have some interested parties who haven't seen it yet.


The Kansas Law Dog!

Wichita is directed by Jacques Tourneur and written by Daniel B. Ullman. It stars Joel McCrea, Vera Miles, Wallace Ford, Edgar Buchannan, Lloyd Bridges and Keith Larsen. It's filmed in Cinemascope/Technicolor with cinematography by Harold Lipstein and music by Hans J. Salter.

Wichita is an origin story, that of one Wyatt Earp (McCrea), the story is set before he gets to Dodge City, where apparently some famous gunfight occurred. From a narrative stand point it's a town tamer story, Earp arrives in a newly thriving Wichita, at this point he's a hunter of buffalo only. But as the cowboys converge on the town, and things turn very dark, Earp - a bastion of good and just righteousness - finds it impossible to continue in turning down the town superior's offers of becoming the town Marshal.

It's one of those Western movies that made Western movie fans become Western movie fans. A film you would have watched as a youngster and just bought totally into the good guy against the baddies central core. Of course as youngsters we wouldn't have cared a jot about thematics such as capitalism ruling over common sense, or metaphysical leanings ticking away, all while a genius director is composing shots and frames of great distinction. Hell! Even the intelligence and maturity in the writing would have escaped us, the dark passages merely incidents of no great concern...

Wichita is damn fine film making. OK! It isn't wall to wall action. Sure there is a good round of knuckles, a bit of trench warfare and the standard shoot-outs, but these are just conduits to smart and compelling human drama, richly performed by McCrea (brilliantly cast) and company. Tourneur, Ullman and Lipstein make sure there is no waste on the page or via location framing, the costuming authentic and pleasing, and of course the story itself, the set up of the iconic man himself, is as compelling as it is splendidly entertaining.

It be a traditional Western for the traditional Western fan. Nice! 8/10


The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: What Westerns Have You Seen? May/June/July/Aug - 2016 Edition.

Gunman's Walk (1958)

I finally had the opportunity to watch this movie that’s been on my watch-list for the longest time and it did not disappoint. This riveting horse drama stars Van Heflin, Tab Hunter and the pretty Kathryn Grant.

Van Heflin is a horse rancher and over-protective father who finds himself constantly at odds with his misaligned son, Tab Hunter.

I’m sure this movie has been across this board before so there’s nothing new to tell but I have to say Van is terrific in this film and that powerful ending made this man’s eyes water.

Ties 3:10 to Yuma and Shane as my favorite Van Heflin western film 10/10.


https://media2.giphy.com/media/fmIX2FwanJez6/200.gif

Re: What Westerns Have You Seen? May/June/July/Aug - 2016 Edition.

Nice pick. A good, if rather unseen duster that holds up very well with cast and crew all doing fine work.

Gunman's Walk (1958)

Delighted you liked it so much.


I'm A Runaway.

Rancher and old school westerner Lee Hackett is determined to mould his two sons in his own tough gunfighting image. Something that backfires when his eldest boy, Ed, becomes a murderer.

Gunman's Walk on plot synopsis and summaries sounds like your standard B Western fare, and certainly the theme of parental influence is nothing new. But Phil Karlson's film, adapted from Ric Hardman's story, has many things going for it to keep it from being mundane and used solely as a time filler. It fuses together multiple issues, parenting, prejudice and ignorance during a time of change in the old Wild West, it's central character, Lee Hackett (Van Heflin), is seen as the link between old and new.

He has primarily lived his life as a shooter and killer of Indians, something that he is not totally committed to shaking off, but here he is now, a most respected and feared member of the community, faced with his two sons both taking different paths. One, Ed (Tab Hunter}, is full of bile and gun slinging machismo, represents the old West. The other, Davy (James Darren), doesn't need a gun to feel like a man, his affection for half Indian Clee Chouard (Kathryn Grant) clearly gives a point of reference to the new West. It gives us two sides of the coin with one Lee Hackett perched firmly on the fence, to which Van Heflin gives an emotionally driven standout performance.

I wouldn't say that Gunman's Walk is undervalued as such (its director most definitely is though), it's possibly more like it's been tarred with that old saying brush called "B Western", a saying that unfortunately some use derogatory. Whilst if the truth be told the support to Heflin is rather flat (both Hunter & Darren are average at best). But some average support acting can't stop Gunman's Walk from being an intelligent and potent genre piece. I mean if only for Heflin and the catchy central song, "I'm A Runaway", then you should see this, but as it is, if you give it your undivided attention you hopefully will find it's really rather good and clever. 7/10


For another quality Heflin Oater seek out The Raid (1954).

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Andersonville (1996)

Andersonville (1996)


And what do you call this little piece of heaven?

The American Civil War, and Union soldiers are imprisoned at Andersonville, a crude stockade establishment presided over by the inept and cruel Captain Henry Wirz. It would prove to be a another dark and soul destroying chapter from the war.

Lets get it out there right away, Andersonville was not the only hell hole prison operating during the American Civil War. Information from both sides of the coin is available on line for those wishing to explore further. That said, Andersonville is a story that deserved and is needed to be told, and this John Frankenheimer directed two - parter brings it vividly into the viewers' lives.

In filmic substance terms it has all the standard POW movie cliche's. We follow a group of prisoners and a group of "convict bullies", with those in authority observing menacingly and proving desperately carefree as to the conditions of the prison and of humane traits in general.

But as formulaic as it ultimately is, there's a determination by the makers to keep the characterisations real and viable, and they achieve this in spades. Pic is also boosted by superb period detail, costuming is grade "A", while the production and art design for the prison is harrowingly effective.

Frankenheimer's tracking shots brings home the enormity of the misery, while Gary Chang's score is thankfully never bombastic. Cast are a mixed bag - to be expected in such a large ensemble piece - and you can't help but yearn for more of William H. Macy.

Yet even though 30 minutes could easily have been shaved off of the run time, Andersonville is a production that should stay with you. The coda serving to remind us that that should be the case. 7/10


The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: Andersonville (1996)

Well said my good fellow. Saw this several years and ago found it better than I was expecting. Tick has been applied.

Western Tv: JOHNNY RINGO "Killer, Chose a Card" 1960

CONTAINS SPOILERS

JOHNNY RINGO "Killer, Chose a Card" 1960

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 35th of the series.

Sheriff Don Durant and his Deputy, Mark Goddard, are called out of town to help an old friend of Durant. The friend, Lurene Tuttle, is about to go to the rope over the murder of a man. Tuttle runs the local saloon and has rubbed more than a few of the local business types the wrong way.

While no one actually saw Tuttle murder the man, many had heard her threaten the man. The town Marshall, Whit Bissell tells Durant that there was a quick trial and that she goes for the long fall in 24 hours.

Durant dives in and starts questioning the family and friends of the dead man. This just turns up more suspects besides Tuttle for the killing. Durant is sure that Tuttle is telling the truth about being innocent.

Durant has the five most likely suspects collect that night at the jail. He has enlisted the help of the local Marshall, Bissell in a plan to prove that Tuttle is not guilty. Durant tells the five men that they are going to hang Tuttle that night. Durant wants the men to draw cards to see who will be the hangman.

Durant then arranges for Tuttle to grab a gun from the Marshall. She turns the gun on herself and shoots. The five men are then hustled out to the saloon to write up statements of what they witnessed. As they are doing this, Tuttle appears on the staircase dressed up like a ghost. She starts wailing that she has returned to haunt the real killer.

Dabs Greer, her own bartender, caves and admits to being the killer. Durant grabs the man up and hands him over to Marshall Bissell. The other men all feel like heels over trying to hang an innocent woman. The gun Tuttle had turned on herself was of course loaded with blanks. The bartender, Greer had been trying to gain control of the saloon.

Not great, but it is by no means a waste of time. Former actor turned director Don Taylor helms the episode. The look of the episode is quite sharp with film noir specialist, George Diskant handling the cinematography duties.

Re: Western Tv: JOHNNY RINGO "Killer, Chose a Card" 1960

Johnny Ringo (1959) - Killer, Choose a Card (1960)

Diskant's name stands out

Big G.

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Western Tv: TALES OF WELLS FARGO "Jesse James"1957

CONTAINS SPOILERS


TALES OF WELLS FARGO "Jesse James"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 13th of the series. Wells Fargo man, Hardee (Dale Robertson) is sent to find the famous outlaw, Jesse James. The man is suspected of a 15,000 dollar hold-up where a Wells Fargo man was killed. He rides out to the James farm and is confronted by several rather unfriendly folks with drawn guns.

Robertson is posing as a dime novel writer and wants to get the "real" story of Jesse James, right from the man himself. James, Hugh Beaumont, is pleased with the attention and agrees to the meeting. Sitting in is James' mother, played by the wonderful Olive Carey. She is a hoot carting around a big shotgun everywhere she goes.

Robertson finds out that the robbery he is looking into was not pulled by Beaumont. (James) It was done by his gang, led by James Griffith without Beaumont's knowledge.

Things of course go sideways and Robertson only manages to escape by the skin of his teeth. James heads off in the other direction where two weeks later he was killed by one of his gang, Bob Ford. This one is not one of the better episodes with the rather silly story being the main culprit.

Re: Western Tv: TALES OF WELLS FARGO "Jesse James"1957

Tales of Wells Fargo (1957) - Jesse James (1957)

Yep, I'm not inspired. I can tell when you aint impressed, it's a small write up!

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

WESTBOUND 1959 Randy Scott saves the day

CONTAINS SPOILERS

WESTBOUND 1959

This western was produced by Warner Brothers and stars, Randolph Scott. The rest of the cast includes, Andrew Duggan, Virginia Mayo, Karen Steele, Michael Dante and Michael Pate.

The film, set in 1864 during the US Civil War, has Union Officer Scott being sent west to Colorado. Scott is to supervise the running of "The Overland Stage" company. The government uses the stage line to ship the gold from California needed to finance the war effort.

Needless to say there are some Confederate types out to disrupt the plan. The group is controlled by former Overland manager, Andrew Duggan. Duggan has a gang of most unsavoury types doing his dirty work. The gang is led by a top gun-hand, played by Michael Pate. Pate and his mob burn stage way stations, run off the stock etc. Also in the mix here is a former squeeze of Scott, Virginia Mayo. Mayo is now married to Duggan.

Getting involved with helping Scott set things up is one-armed Union veteran, Michael Dante, and his wife, the drop dead gorgeous, Karen Steele. There is a series back and forth raids on both camps horses etc. Matters really turn nasty when young Dante is killed by one of Pate's hired guns. Then, Pate and mob run a stage off a hill killing the passengers including a little girl, so they could grab the gold shipment.

Duggan is having second thoughts about Pate's methods. He wants to stop the gold shipments, but killing women and children is going too far. There is now a big showdown in the local burg between Scott and Pate's bunch. The townsfolk join in to help Scott. Duggan, Pate and the rest soon end up ready for Boot Hill.

This was the sixth of seven films made by Scott and director, Budd Boetticher. It is also the only one not made by Scott and Harry Joe Brown's production company, Ranown. Scott it seemed owed Warner Brothers a film from an earlier contract and this was it. Boetticher volunteered to direct and Warner Bros agreed hoping to continue the box office streak of Scott and the director. At 72 minutes the film moves well enough, but is the weakest of the pair's collaborations.

The story is a bit shopworn and has all been seen before. The Miss Mayo part could have been left out and no one would have noticed. Michael Pate though is particularly good as the kill happy gunman. As for Karen Steele, this is one hot looking bit of womanhood.

The director of photography was the twice Oscar nominated, J. Peverell Marley. The talented Marley lensed films like, THE SPIRIT OF ST LOUIS, SUEZ, LIFE WITH FATHER, PRIDE OF THE MARINES, KISS TOMORROW GOODBYE and DRUM BEAT.

The score by David Buttolph is effective, with all the right flourishes in all the right places.

Re: WESTBOUND 1959 Randy Scott saves the day

Westbound (1959)

It's the weakest Budd & Randy Oater, but still enough in it to fill our nosebags.


The absence of a Burt Kennedy script is very evident.

Out of Warner Brothers and filmed in Warnercolor, Westbound is directed by Budd Boetticher & written by Berne Giler & Albert Shelby LeVino. It stars Randolph Scott, Virginia Mayo, Karen Steele, Michael Dante, Andrew Duggan & Michael Pate. The story is set in 1864 during the American Civil War where Scott plays John Hayes, the man charged with the task of running the Overland Stage Line between California and Julesburg, Colorado. The function of which is to transport gold and the mail to aid the Union war effort. In Julesburg, Hayes finds a host of problems with Confederate sympathisers led by Clay Putnam (Duggan), who also happens to be married to Norma (Mayo), an old flame of Hayes.

Of the seven Western film's that Boetticher and Scott made, Westbound is widely regarded as the weakest. Not part of the Ranown cycle they did that featured Harry Joe Brown on production and Burt Kennedy screen writing, it is a decent, if disposable, Western movie. The story is actually rather enticing, but with such a small running time and a condensed location shoot, the movie is never quite able to lay down some solid footings for the characters to flourish from. This leaves the supporting actors either exposed to their failings as thesps (Duggan is particularly bad), or playing underdeveloped participants (sadly the case with Mayo).

However, this being Boetticher & Scott it does have some nice passages to take in, unsurprisingly the best of which is when Scott is on screen. Be it cocking a rifle with one hand, throwing one of his best ever punches, squaring off against Pate's effective turn as henchman Mace; or laying on some reflective emotion around the two ladies of the piece, Scott is always captivating. What action there is is attention grabbing for the budget and David Buttolph provides a perky score that's at its best during the stagecoach sequences. With the exteriors primarily filmed at the Warner Ranch, J. Peverell Marley is able to photograph enough of the grassy hilled scenery to make an easy on the eye impact.

Enjoyable and safe fare for Western fans, but very much a low key affair from the normally dynamite partnership of director & star. 6/10


The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Western Tv : THE RIFLEMAN "The Silent Knife" 1960

CONTAINS SPOILERS

THE RIFLEMAN – The Silent Knife – 1960

Chuck Connors headlines this 1958 to 1963 western series that ran for 168 episodes. Connors is a world class hand with a Winchester rifle. This of course ends up getting him in no end of trouble. This episode is number 88 of the run.

Chuck Connors is filling in for Sheriff Paul Fix while Fix is out of town on business. A young man, Mark Weston, fresh off the trail, is given a hard time because he never speaks. Especially rough on the lad is town bully, Richard Devon. Weston however is no pushover and drops the older man with a hip toss.

Of course Devon is not amused with being made to look like an idiot. He goes after the boy again and gets the same treatment, eating some dirt. Weston and Chuck Connors' boy, Johnny Crawford, strike up a friendship. It turns out Weston has a knife wound in the neck. He and his family had been captured by an Indian raiding party. Weston had been stabbed in the neck and lost his ability to speak.

While Weston is camping outside of North Fork, the very annoyed Devon pays him a third visit which again ends poorly for Devon. Now a series of events unfold that could end in the death of the boy. Connors steps up and calmer heads soon prevail.

Not exactly a barn-burner of an episode.

Re: Western Tv : THE RIFLEMAN "The Silent Knife" 1960

The Rifleman (1958) - The Silent Knife (1960)

High rating though



The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Soleil Rouge

​​​​​What do you call a Western movie that was filmed in Spain, by a French production company, with an English Director (Terence Young), an American lead (Charles Bronson), a Japanese co-lead (Toshiro Mifune), a French antagonist (Alain Delon), and a Swiss femme fatale (Ursula Andress)? Well, pardners, back in 1972, we called it Soleil Rouge, er, I mean, Red Sun. A Gazpacho Western, as it were.

The basic premise is fairly simple: One of the Magnificent Seven (Bronson) teams up with one of the Seven Samurai(Mifune) to track down the ornery varmint who stole a chunk of previously stolen money (Delon). Bronson needs the varmint alive, to help recover his money; Mifune wants the hombre dead, to satisfy his honor and retrieve an ornamental sword. Ooh, conflict! As the Gunslinger babysits the Samurai, they learn a grudging respect for each other in classic buddy movie style - they trade insults, they brawl, they argue, they kill some bad guys, they laugh, they get drunk, they pick up chicks, and then Poof! they become a well-oiled revenge machine.

The clash of cultures and star power fuel a fairly tired and familiar story of revenge, and prop up a production that frankly needs a little perking up. The actions scenes are stolid but uninspired; director Terence Young, with three early Bond films to his credit, doesn't seem entirely comfortable with the classic American Western, and his direction is rather nondescript. Additionally, the production has some unfortunate moments - the Comanche, for instance, look quite a bit like partially-dressed Spanish extras, and seem content to ride around in circles, whooping, as they get picked off one at a time by the desperate desperadoes. Not only is this a fairly tired cliche, it's also a fairly unconvincing one.

There are also a couple of minor story issues, but, flaws aside, this is a reasonably solid piece of Western entertainment; Bronson is at his scruffy best, and Mifune has a quiet dignity that seems both utterly out of place yet completely adaptable to the wild, wild west. Alain Delon is suavely rotten, and Miss Andress and French beauty Capucine are pleasantly distracting. The Spanish locations are quite attractive, and the movie rolls along at a good pace. Little about it is first-rate, but it is a solid tale with good star power and an oddball story gimmick that actually works (ask Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson). Not exactly a classic, but a fairly solid outing for fans of the genre - 7/10.

Re: Soleil Rouge

Saw it back in the day on a Bronson double bill at a drive -in. Liked it.

Re: Soleil Rouge

Soleil rouge (1971)

Well, I have never seen it, which as a Bronson fan is kinda disgraceful I was going to buy it some time back but the Blu-ray was outrageously priced and the DVD reviews complained of poor quality transfers.

Really enjoyed your review, looks like you had fun whilst recognising some flaws. You even managed to link into the Shanghai movies

Good stuff mate

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

True Grit (A Further Adventure) (1978)

True Grit (1978)


Old One Eye Is Back!

True Grit (A Further Adventure) is directed by Richard T. Heffron and written by Sandor Stern. It stars Warren Oates, Lisa Pelikan, Lee Meriwether, James Stephens, Jeff Osterhage and Lee Montgomery. Music is by Earle Hagen and cinematography by Stevan Larner.

This is a TV movie that follows on from the two Rooster Cogburn movies that featured John Wayne in the iconic title role. Here we have Warren Oates donning the Rooster eye patch, he's on escort duty but as he has Mattie Ross (Pelikan) trying to reform him, he winds up in a town trying to make things right - you know, bad guys to be sorted whilst looking after those he has a soft spot for.

It's actually not a bad piece as such - in that fun episodic Oater kind of way - but that's the problem, it feels like, and should have been a one hour picture. There's simply not enough weight here to carry the pic through an hour and forty minutes. Oates wisely doesn't try to mimic Duke Wayne by putting his own stamp on the character, and turns in a good perf (some serious non wild west white teeth there though!). Unfortunately the supporting cast are desperately poor, and while the playing it for jolly pulse beat entertains to a degree, the lack of serious tension undermines proceedings and renders the whole thing pretty pointless. 5/10


The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: True Grit (A Further Adventure) (1978)

Thanks for this, Spike. Been looking for this for years. Tick sent.
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