THE BUSHWACKERS (THE REBEL)
(director/writer: Rod Amateau; screenwriter: Tom Gries; cinematographer: John MacBurnie; editor: Francis D. Lyon; music: Albert Glasser; cast: John Ireland (Jefferson Waring), Wayne Morris (Marshal John Harding), Lon Chaney Jr. (Artemus Taylor), Dorothy Malone (Cathy Sharpe), Jack Elam (Cree), Lawrence Tierney (Sam Tobin), Frank Marlowe (Peter Sharpe, newspaper editor), Myrna Dell (Norah Taylor), Charles Trowbridge (Justin Stone, banker), Bill Holmes (Ding Bell), Bob Wood (Henchman), Norman Leavitt (Deputy Yale), Stuart Randall (Slocum), George Lynn (Guthrie), Gordon Wynne (John Quigley); Runtime: 70; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Larry Finley; Realart; 1951)
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A noirish Western finely directed and co-written by Rod Amateau(“Drive-In”/”The Statue”/”Where Does it Hurt?”), in his directorial debut. Tom Gries is the other writer. This was the only Western the former radio writer Amateau directed. It’s set just after the Civil War.
The Confederate veteran Jeff Waring (John Ireland, in his first starring role) arrives in Independence, Missouri, weary of war. He vows to never again use a gun. But things get unsettled over disputes with the arthritic Artemus Taylor (Lon Chaney), the despotic cattle baron, and his menacing henchmen led by Sam Tobin (Lawrence Tierney) and Cree (Jack Elam). The greedy villains are forcing out the settlers in anticipation of the railroad coming through and thereby the price of land skyrocketing. Taylor has bribed the local marshal, John Harding (Morris), and the local banker, Justin Stone (Trowbridge), who follow his orders. Crusading newspaper editor Peter Sharpe (Frank Marlowe) speaks out against the injustice from Taylor’s mob and is murdered by Taylor’s thugs. His pretty school marm daughter Cathy Sharpe (Dorothy Malone) is protected by Jeff, who breaks his vows and is again armed to fight Taylor’s gang by leading the settler’s against the bad guys. Meanwhile Taylor’s mean-spirited daughter (Myrna Dell) sides with her dad.
REVIEWED ON 2/17/2016 GRADE: B https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/