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A gem of a western still waiting for rediscovery
on 8 December 2010
When you think director John Sturges and the western, you probably think of THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN or GUNFIGHT AT THE O.K. CORRAL or possibly even HOUR OF THE GUN but this strong effort is seldom mentioned which is unfortunate as it's quite good. A man (Richard Widmark) is searching for the murderer of the father he never knew and a woman (Donna Reed) is searching for the gold left by the husband who abandoned her and they join up together when they suspect the man they're looking for may be the same person. The tight screenplay is by Borden Chase who wrote such western classics as RED RIVER and WINCHESTER 73. The film doesn't lack excitement what with gunfights, Apache attacks and cattle range wars but it's the personal stories and the relationship between Widmark and Reed that form the basis of the film's core. It's nice to see Reed in a strong, integral part rather than the "girl" that populates so many westerns. The wide screen SuperScope cinematography is handled well by Irving Glassberg (TARNISHED ANGELS) but the pedestrian score by Herman Stein adds little to the proceedings. With John McIntire, William Campbell, Barton MacLane, Harry Morgan and Roy Roberts.
The British Optimum release boasts an excellent 2.00:1 transfer.