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

Hannah Lee: An American Primitive aka "Outlaw Territory" 1953


Hannah Lee: An American Primitive aka "Outlaw Territory" 1953

This 1953 western was originally filmed in colour and 3-D. It was later released to television as "Outlaw Territory" in black and white in flat 2-d format. The film stars, MacDonald Carey, John Ireland, Joanne Dru, Tom Powers, Frank Ferguson, Don Haggerty and Peter Ireland. The screenplay was written by MacKinlay Kantor from his own novel, "Wicked Water".

The story starts out in the town of Pearl City, Colorado at the end of the 1890's. Gun for hire MacDonald Carey hits town looking for work. As it so happens, a group of local big ranch owners are in need of someone like him. They are having problems with squatters and rustlers taking their land and cattle.

Carey is offered 600 dollars a body and is supplied with a list of names. He is told that he must give the people named a chance to leave on their own. Carey leaves notes with the men telling them to clear out of the area. None do, and all soon end up with large alterations to their breathing arrangements.

Carey, a slightly nuts in the head type uses a sniping rifle he used during the Spanish-American War in Cuba. Carey also takes a fancy to the local saloon keeper, Joanne Dru. Dru finds herself drawn to the hard man.

As the body count rises, some of the local people put out a call for a Federal Marshall. The town Sheriff, Tom Powers, does not seem all that interested in investigating.

Marshall John Ireland arrives in Pearl City to have a look into the killings. He digs around and figures that Carey is the main suspect. The killings started just after he arrived, and he is now flashing a large roll of cash. The cattlemen however want Carey to keep up his thinning of squatters etc. The cattlemen send another gunman, Don Haggerty to dispose of Ireland. Ireland though ends up filling Haggerty with lead instead.

Now we find out that Ireland and Miss Dru know each other from years before. Ireland had sent Dru's brother to prison for a long spell. Dru was sure that her brother was innocent. Ireland asks Dru to tell him all she might know about the latest shootings. Dru refuses to name Carey.

Matters come to a head when Carey shoots the young son, Peter Ireland, of the local stable owner. The shot was an accident, but it will not stop Carey from continuing on his job. Ireland follows Carey out of town and catches him loading up the sniping rifle. There is a bout of flying fist and boots with Carey getting the win with a knockdown. He saddles up and high tails it into the hills.

Ireland recovers and sets off in pursuit. The two exchange rifle rounds with Carey winging Ireland in the shoulder. He walks up to Ireland to polish him off. As he raises his rifle, a shot rings out and drops him. Miss Dru steps out from cover and approaches. Carey looks at her and smiles, then dies. Dru helps Ireland onto his horse and they both ride back to Pearl City.

This is a stark, brutal western that is a take on the Tom Horn story. The film was directed by cinematographer Lee Garmes with John Ireland doing several of the scenes. The four time Oscar nominated and one time winning Garmes was known for lensing films like, THE JUNGLE BOOK, SCARFACE, DETECTIVE STORY, ANGELS OVER Broadway, NIGHTMARE ALLEY, MAN WITH THE GUN and THE DESPERATE HOURS.

The writer, MacKinlay Kantor is best known for, THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES and the noir, GUN CRAZY.

Guns, fists, bottles, burning furniture and Miss Dru's upper works are just a few of the items thrust at the viewer because of the original 3-D format. Ireland and Dru were married at the time. Peter Ireland was John's son from a previous marriage.

Re: Hannah Lee: An American Primitive aka "Outlaw Territory" 1953

Hannah Lee: An American Primitive (1953)

How in the hell did you get this? Is it on The Tube?

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: Hannah Lee: An American Primitive aka "Outlaw Territory" 1953

I had a disc here with a flat 2-d color copy of the film. Since you mentioned it, I had a look on You-tube and found a somewhat weather beaten print. You want the link?

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

I picked a movie from probably your reviews, Spike. I am glad that I did wherever I picked it from. I have seen about 100s of westerns but Will Penny (1967) is a completely unique film I have ever seen. The movie is more of journey and for some reason resonates with me as I have been running away all my life like the central character of this movie and can hardly see myself starting a family.

The old man (the head of the raw-hider gang)really freaked me out. It seemed he was a combination of evil and mental. The background music was fine. There was something about this movie that kept me feeling sad. Perhaps the condition of life of people depicted in the story.

8/10 - definitely recommend. Sorry, I will try to write in a better format from next time.

dividavii is an insane psychopath and a genocidal maniac.

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

Yesterday, I lost my time watching; " Five Card Stud ".
A Henry Hathaway's disaster, IMHO.

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

Five Card Stud is not a fav of mine either.

Five Card Stud

5 Card Stud (1968)

I liked it >

When he played he played for blood.

5 Card Stud is directed by Henry Hathaway and adapted to screenplay by Marguerite Roberts from a novel written by Ray Gaulden. It stars Robert Mitchum, Dean Martin, Inger Stevens, Roddy McDowall, Katherine Justice, John Anderson, Ruth Springford and Yaphet Kotto. Music is by Maurice Jarre and cinematography by Daniel L. Fapp.

Rincon, Colorado and when a gambler is caught cheating at poker, the rest of the players administer frontier justice and hang the man. All except one man that is, Van Morgan (Martin), who tried desperately to stop the lynching. When members of the card school from that night start being killed off, it's clear that somebody is also administering their own brand of retribution justice. Morgan teams up with the new unorthodox preacher in town, Reverend Jonathan Rudd (Mitchum), to try and crack the case.

I don't think anyone would seriously try to argue that 5 Card Stud is a great movie, but it is a fun picture made by people who knew their way around the dusty plains of the Western genre. Basically a Western take on Agatha Christie's Ten Little Indians, it's a whodunit at the core, but surrounded by Western staples as fights, gun-play, murders, barroom shenanigans and thinly veiled prostitution exist during the run time, while the Durango location photography is most pleasant (TCM HD print is gorgeous).

It's not short of flaws, mind. Jarre's musical score is simply odd, I'm not even sure what film genre he thought he was scoring, but it's about as far removed as being in tune with a film as can be. McDowall as a whiny weasel villain doesn't work, the costuming is a bit sub-par and the reveal of the perpetrator is revealed too early. Yet film overcomes these problems because being in the company of Mitchum and Martin brings rewards.

Dino harks back to his Western glory days in the likes of Rio Bravo, and Mitch gets to parody his Night of the Hunter preacher whilst adding six- shooter charms into the bargain. The girls are short changed by the writing, but both Stevens and Justice grace the picture with their presence, and Kotto enlivens a role that quite easily could have been standard fare. A good time to be had with this Poker Oater © 7/10

Thanks for posting ed

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

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

WILL PENNY is a film that should be better known.

Will Penny

You never have to apologise for your English writing here mate, you do grand fella

You have gone deep into the narrative, which I love

My review is on the film's page so I wont print it here, but I'll recommend Monte Walsh (1970) as a film I think you would get much from.

Thanks for stopping by AJ

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: Will Penny

but I'll recommend Monte Walsh (1970) as a film I think you would get much from.

Thank you. I will keep that movie in my watch list. Actually, I now remember I saw your review on Will Penny's page that actually got me interested and also brought me here. I am also a fan of westerns/noir/b&W movies and will try to be more often on these boards.

Carlill v. Carbolic Smoke Ball Co. [1893] Q.B. 256 (C.A.)

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

Hi A,J. - Glad to see how much you enjoyed the marvelous melancholy romantic western WILL PENNY. I'm a huge western fan and WILL PENNY is one of my very favorite films in the genre. It features atguably Charlton Heston's finest performance and the supporting cast - with the likes of Donald Pleasance and Bruce Dern - is absolutely aces.

PS. Hope you got to watch some of the fantastic test match between SA and New Zealand in Pretoria recently. It was so wonderful to have Dale Steyn and Big Vern Philander back from injury and at the top of their game. Surely Dale is up there with the greatest fast bowlers of all time, and Vern is one of the best seamers in the game today. Their sublime skills on a difficult track were the difference between SA and New Zealand and gave us the edge. Young Quinnie De Kock was also firing on all cylinders and looks set to become a legend of the game in times to come. And what a brilliant first innings seventy-something from New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson - arguably the best test batsman in the world. My missus and I got watch almost the entire game live on TV, and what a treat it was. Test cricket at its thrilling best.

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

Hello Cody, nice to meet you again. I am glad that Will Penny is one of your favourite westerns. You used a very correct term - melancholy - as that was the theme of the movie throughout. Life was like a battle for most of the characters and it was so believable. Not to forget the ending was unique and slightly unexpected.

Yes, SA performed as per their ability and it was a treat to see Steyn bowl so well. He is one of those very few bowlers in today's cricket of favourable conditions who can perform in any condition. de Kock has already got 10 centuries in ODI cricket at this young age. If he can play like he did in test series against NZ, he can be a cherished asset! I have been fearing that SA's cricket will decline. But it is good that they stepped up even in absence of AB and showed their class and skills. Congrats, once again.

Carlill v. Carbolic Smoke Ball Co. [1893] Q.B. 256 (C.A.)

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

I have been fearing that SA's cricket will decline. But it is good that they stepped up even in absence of AB and showed their class and skills. Congrats, once again.

Thanks A.J. but the reality is that this is a very sad time for South African cricket. Cricket South Africa imposed an enforced racial quota on the the SA cricket team on Friday. From now on the South African national cricket team will have to field "six players of colour" ("including 18% Black Africans") in the national team. I thought apartheid was over when the racist National party was finally outed and the ANC came into power in the first democratic elections, but this is racism in reverse and will lead to a decline in SA cricket.

The domestic league is now a joke because of the stringent racial quotas, which have been enforced this season. To say there are some unbelievably mediocre players that are now guaranteed spots in the provincial and franchise sides is an understatement.

Merit should be the only consideration for selection at the highest level. The ANC governent - led by the corrupt President Jacob Zuma, who has been looting the country since he was elected and is now going after the State Treasury and the Minister of Finance (the heroic Pravin Gordhan who has kept the ship from sinking during these dark times but is now under investigation by The Hawks (Zuma's police lackeys), but has said "he will die" before he stops fighting corruption) - had threatened to stop CSA organizing any new tours to South Africa if strict racial quotas were not enforced.

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

I am really sorry for the state of affairs in your country. While I am generally against any kind of quota system which steals people's rights/jobs, when it comes to sport I am even more of opinion that quota systems are awful. We already saw how progress of Zimbabwe in cricket was hampered by quota system/ reverse racism.

SA is very precious for world cricket as it represents the entire Africa. We have already seen WI deteriorate over the years and at this point of time we can't afford to lose SA given that t-20 leagues (led by my own home-country's corrupt board) are posing bigger threat than Kerry Packer did in his era. It's really sad.

Carlill v. Carbolic Smoke Ball Co. [1893] Q.B. 256 (C.A.)

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

I think in spite of the quota, they will never cease to have decent fast bowlers. And people of subcontinental origin can be decent batsmen or spinners. SA will never be a bad cricket team even in near future. Though, they might lose some edge.

Western Tv: STAGE 7 "Fox Hunt" 1955


STAGE 7 "Fox Hunt" 1955

This is the last episode of the one season run of the anthology series, STAGE 7. The series ran for 25 episodes during 1955. The headliner in this western episode is, Dennis Morgan.

Texas Ranger, Dennis Morgan is sent out to help a small town Sheriff round up a trio of bank robbers. Morgan arrives in the small burg to find that the Sheriff is dead. He had been bushwhacked by the trio and shot dead.

Morgan tries to round up a posse but none of the local men are interested. They don't like the odds. Morgan asks an older prospector looking type just riding into town, if he will join in chasing the bandits down. The man, Harry Shannon, looks at the Ranger for a moment and then agrees. He wants a feed of fresh grub first. Morgan sends him over to the beanery with a dollar and tells him to fill up.

The two men hit the trail out into the hill country looking for their prey. They are soon joined by several townsfolk, John Doucette and Howard Negley. The two new joiners figure that if the old man, Shannon can ride with the Ranger, then so can they.

The men track the robbers down to a rocky ridge where they are camped out. It seems that one of the men, Paul Burke, had been wounded in the bank hold up. Guns are pulled and everyone fires off a fistful of rounds to no effect. Shannon volunteers to climb up around behind the gunmen and see if he can flush them out.

Ranger Morgan and the others watch as Shannon scrambles up the ridge and disappears from sight. At the top, gunman, Burke and his partner John Cliff holster their guns when they see Shannon. It turns out that Shannon is actually the third member of the hold-up bunch. It was he who had killed the local Lawman.

Now Shannon yards iron and kills his partners. He yells down to Morgan and company to come on up. The Ranger and the others sling the two dead men over their horses to take back to town. Morgan and the others, figure that the third man must of fled during the firefight.

Shannon of course has hidden the loot and intends to return later to retrieve it. Morgan though starts to smell a rather large rodent in the cheese cupboard. He quickly realizes that the rat in play is Shannon. He disarms the man and they join the others for the ride back to town.

This could have been a real corker of an episode. The writers, Frank Burt and Richard Carr, however blow the suspense factor by revealing at the start, that Shannon was the killer of the lawman. (He had been riding into the town to get some medical and food supplies when Morgan had asked him to join the posse. What better place to hide than with the posse) Frank Burt was best known for working on the screenplay for the Anthony Mann directed, THE MAN FROM LARAMIE starring James Stewart. Richard Carr is best known for MAN FROM DEL RIO and HELL IS FOR HEROES. Still, even with the plot giveaway, it is an interesting duster.

Behind the camera there is some first rate talent. The director is long time film-editor and occasional director, Stuart Gilmore. The 3 time Oscar nominated Gilmore's work includes editing turns on, SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS, THE ENEMY BELOW, THE HUNTERS, JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH, THE ALAMO, HATARI!, AIRPORT and THE ANDROMDEA STRAIN.


Some excellent location filming at Vasquez Rocks helps with the look of the episode.

Re: Western Tv: STAGE 7 "Fox Hunt" 1955

Stage 7 (1955) - Fox Hunt (1955)

Shame it wasn't a grand series close down

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Western Tv: "Apache Gold" 1957 Written by Peckinpah


TALES OF WELLS FARGO "Apache Gold" 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 17th of the series. Wells Fargo man, Hardee (Dale Robertson) is sent to Tucson to help find a lost man. The man, Dan Barton, is the son of a large investor, John Litel, in Wells Fargo Stock. It seems the lad has gone out into the desert hill country looking for a lost gold mine. Needless to say said mine is in the middle of the Apache lands.

Robertson, Litel and a couple more men, Myron Healy and John Dennis track the lad into the middle of nowhere. Robertson cannot shake the feeling that they are being watched. The further they head out the more the men talk about the millions in gold the lost mine is said to contain. They all get a glint in their eye for the gold. That is except for Robertson, he just wants to find the lost man and return to Tucson.

The bunch are soon losing members of their party. One disappears during the night and another is killed by an arrow. Robertson is all for leaving the area and returning to town. Litel insists they carry on.

They now stumble onto the lost mine. Gold is everywhere. Now another arrow comes out of nowhere, felling Litel. Robertson mounts up and races away. On the trail back to town he finds the missing boy. The two hit Tucson just happy to be alive.

In town they find another group of men heading out to try their luck in finding the gold. At the end of the episode the narration explains who was actually protecting the "lost mine".

The story and screenplay were supplied by the one and only, Sam Peckinpah.

Young Jesse James

Young Jesse James (1960) / William F. Claxton. Young, naïve Jess is ranching with his family and fiancé during the Civil War when some Yanks come around, hang his Pa, and beat Jesse up. Looking for revenge, he leaves home to join older brother Frank who is working with Quantrill's Raiders. At first, Jesse is mocked for his youth by members Zack and Pitts, then Col. Quantrill refuses to take him on. Refusing to leave and then fighting with Zack convinces Quantrill to give him a chance. He goes on a raiding party with his older kinsman, Cole Younger. His youth and impetuousness cause a breech between the two men. As Jesse gets more experience in war, he turns into a person who loves the killing. There was no reason on Earth why this movie should not have been a typical western programmer of the time, but it turns out to be more than that because of a literate and psychologically probing script (by Orville H. Hampton and Jerry Sackheim, a couple of journeyman writers) and some committed acting by a cast of know-their-faces but not-their-names western regulars. Ray Stricklyn as Jesse James gives an earnest Method performance. Stricklyn, who was once tagged as a possible “next Montgomery Clift” (the kind of hyperbole that seems to kill careers), shows us why some may have been thinking that way. (Stricklyn had an interesting life with some downs and ups. His bio at this database is a good read.) Willard Parker as Cole Younger matches him all the way. Parker, who worked steadily in B-movies and TV for 30 years, was certainly typecast but shows what he can do in this film. Emile Meyer is the hard-bitten Quantrill, Robert Dix (son of silent star Richard Dix) is brother Frank, Jacklyn O'Donnell (who only appeared in one other feature) is Jesse’s gf, later his wife, and Mary Anders shows up in a lively cameo as a worldly Belle Starr. The film was shot in black-and-white Cinemascope but the program I watched (on the F/X Network) showed it in the 1.33 to 1 formatted-to-fit-your-TV ratio. A surprisingly different experience.


Trust me. I’m The Doctor.

Re: Young Jesse James

Thanks. This sounds like something to add to the list.

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


TALES OF WELLS FARGO "The Target" 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 19th of the series. Wells Fargo man, Hardee (Dale Robertson) is on his way by stage to Wyoming. On the way he runs into one of Wells Fargo's Pony Express riders, Robert Henry. The two men talk for a bit and then Henry continues on his ride to Laramie.

Up the trail a piece are three men waiting in ambush. They shoot Henry off his horse and rifle through the mailbags. Not finding what they want, they take off with the one man, Rush Williams, lifting the dead riders watch. The men are all members of the less than "honest" Clanton bunch. The old man, Barton McLane is in charge of sons, Kelo Henderson and Williams.

The stage now rolls up and they find the body of Henry. Robertson finds a small bag with gold samples that the gang had overlooked. This is exactly what the Clanton's had been looking for. Robertson loads up the body on the stage and heads to Laramie.

He drops off the mail and gold at the office, and the body with the undertaker. His next job is to pay the new wife of the dead rider a call. Eilene Janssen, the widow, takes the death of her husband hard. He wants Robertson to find the men who did the deed and kill them.

Needless to say Robertson digs around and the three Clanton's pop up as the most likely suspects. They have a history of gold claim jumping. Robertson lets it out that he has the gold samples that Henry had been carrying. We all know who comes a calling looking for said samples. Iron is pulled and the meeting does not turn out the way the Clanton gang wanted.

This is a watchable episode that moves right along at a nice clip. The outdoor location work helps.

The Magnificent Seven Ride! (1972)


* This review may contain spoilers ***

With about a week to go,I talked to my dad about what presents to get for a pal for their birthday. Knowing that me and my friend are hoping to see the new Magnificent Seven on the big screen,my dad decided to get him the final title from the original Magnificent Seven era.

The plot:

Trying to put his outlaw life behind him,Chris focuses on being the best sheriff in town,who makes sure that everyone serves their time for misdeeds (even when his wife Arrila pleas for a teen ragamuffin to be freed!) Learning that his old friend Jim Mackay is caught in an ambush,Chris goes to help him out. After helping him escape,Chris is asked by Mackay to help him protect a town that is being overrun by outlaws. Turning down the offer,Chris soon discovers that he will have to gather up the Magnificent Seven.

View on the film:

Crossing the floor, Lee Van Cleef gives a very good performance as Chris,who despite having an "old romantic" side which looks a bit odd against Cleef's credits,is given a smooth soulfulness from Cleef,which Cleef melts down with a pipe smoking stamp which keeps all the guys in line with a cold hard stare. For the lone Magnificent Seven flick of the 70's,director George McCowan and cinematographer Fred J. Koenekamp ride off to a dusty warmth,as smooth crane shots catch the glare from the sun gliding over the 7 outlaws.

Loading up short shots of action, McCowan gives the movie a grubby mood by splatting dry blood on the slow-draw cowboys. Mapping out the final set-piece, McCowan rolls out explosive shoot-outs,that catch a few surprising people in the crossfire. Bringing the sun down on the series,the screenplay by Arthur Rowe gets some Western grit under the gun by firmly pulling Chris from the straight and the narrow back to the path of the outlaw. Clearly inspired by The Dirty Dozen (a film I've not yet seen!) Rowe fails to give the other six members of the gang "their moment" and instead leaves them to fade into the background,and stops The Magnificent Seven from going out with all guns blazing.

Re: The Magnificent Seven Ride! (1972)

Tick sent. I recall seeing this in the mid 70's at triple bill at the drive in. We were seldom sober by the third feature!

Re: The Magnificent Seven Ride! (1972)

Well observed; the movie feels like "The Magnificent Lee Van Cleef and ... Six Other Guys." Still, it's fun to see Stefanie Powers and Mariette Hartley. Michael Callan was occasionally charming. Was Gary Busey ever really that young? McCowan was a TV level talent and added little to the film.

For heaven's sake, see The Dirty Dozen. It's long and gritty, but it's a stone-cold classic.

Western Tv: JOHNNY RINGO "Dead Wait" 1959


JOHNNY RINGO "Dead Wait" 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 8th episode of the series.

Sheriff Don Durant is escorting a pair of convicted murderers to Yuma Territorial Prison for their hanging. The two are, the massive 6'4 Peter Whitney and the tiny 5'5 Elisha Cook Jr. They are loaded on a stagecoach hired to take the men to the prison. Whitney is less than amused with his partner in crime, Cook. He blames Cook for getting the two of them arrested. Whitney swears he is going to kill Cook before they reach Yuma.

Driving through a rocky pass, there is a landslide which sweeps the stagecoach and contents off into a canyon. The stagecoach driver and guard are killed while Sheriff Durant is badly injured. Prisoners Whitney and Cook are unharmed and both want Durant's gun.

The battered Durant has Whitney and Cook bury the two dead men and try to round up any surviving horses. Cook manages to find the guard's six-shooter and goes for his partner, Whitney. Cook knows that Whitney was not joking about killing him. Durant is fading fast, but is still quick enough to stop Cook with a well- placed shot from killing Whitney.

After burying Cook, the two start out on foot for the Yuma prison. Durant is more or less on his last legs when Whitney grabs up the second pistol. He aims and pulls the trigger. Nothing happens as Durant had emptied the weapon in case this very event happened. The pair continue on towards the prison which is just over the next ridge.

A patched up Durant watches as Whitney is taken up the scaffold to keep his date with the rope.

This is a pretty entertaining episode with plenty of action and tension. The superb look of the episode is because film noir specialist, Carl Guthrie is in the cinematographer's chair. His work in the noir genre included, CRY WOLF, FLAXY MARTIN, BACKFIRE, CAGED, THIS SIDE OF THE LAW, UNDERCOVER GIRL, STORM WARNING, HELL BOUND and the superb, HIGHWAY 301.

The Black Dakotas

The Black Dakotas (1954) / Ray Nazarro. This western begins with an interesting premise. During the Civil War, Pres. Lincoln has authorized a treaty and payment in gold with the Sioux in states out west not directly involved in the war. Confederate spies have intercepted the negotiator and substituted an imposter (Gary Merrill). His scheme is to steal the gold and inflame the Indians so that Union troops will have to be diverted from the war to protect settlers. This unusual plot promises something a little different but in the end doesn’t pay off. It is undercut by unimaginative and/or lazy direction that falls back on too many B-western tropes. They got your usual chases on horseback, fistfights that wreck a room, and some pretty obvious stunt work. The square-jawed but bland hero is played by John Bromfield, but the Confederate gang assisting Merrill and the mob of frightened towns people feature a number of recognizable character actors, viz., Richard Webb (Captain Midnight), Noah Beery, Jr., James Griffith, and Peter Whitney, just to mention a few. It was a delight to learn that the peaceful Sioux chief and his fiery war-loving warrior are played by two actual Native Americans: John War Eagle and Jay Silverheels. Merrill is outstanding as the main baddie who has a trick or two that is not revealed until late in the game. A great potential in the cast, but, again, let down by a cliché ridden script and uninspiring direction by Mr. Nazarro.


Trust me. I’m The Doctor.

Re: The Black Dakotas

Thanks for the write-up. Am not familiar with this one at all.