Preston Foster, Wanda Hendrix, and Lon McCallister in Montana Territory (1952)


(director: Ray Nazarro; screenwriter: Barry Shipman; cinematographer: Henry Freulich; editor: Paul Borofsky; music: Mischa Bakaleinikoff; cast:Myron Healey (Bill Landers), Hugh Sanders (Jason Waterman), Lon McCallister (John Malvin), Eddy Waller (Possum Enoch), Wanda Hendrix (Clair Enoch), George Russell (Boone), Trevor Bardette (Lloyd Magruder), Boyd Stockman (stagedriver), Ruth Warren (Mrs. Nelson), Jack Elam (Gimp), Clayton Moore (Deputy Ives), Robert Griffin (Yeager), Preston Foster (Sheriff Henry Plummer); Runtime: 75; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Colbert Clark; Columbia Pictures; 1952)

Harmless B Western set in 1863 in the unruly Montana Territory just before statehood.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Ray Nazarro (“The Hired Gun”/”The White Squaw”) directs this harmless B Western set in 1863 in the unruly Montana Territory just before statehood.

The discovery of gold brings prospectors and crime to the areas around Montana City and Bannack. Oneminer newcomer is the young son of a judge, John Malvin (Lon McCallister), who wants to strike it rich while young. At night, in the hills outside Montana City, John stumbles onto the murder for their gold, of father (Trevor Bardette) and son prospectors, by five outlaws. John escapes when he hides. The next day at the local livery stable and saloon, he spots one of the killers Yeager (Robert Griffin) and gets into a shoot-out with the three killers with him. Sheriff Plummer (Preston Foster) comes by and kills two of the gang while Yeager escapes. Meanwhile John falls for the saloon owner Possum’s (Eddy Waller) daughter Clair (Wanda Hendrix), and to impress her becomes a deputy to the sheriff he unwisely idolizes. When her dad tips off John to be aware of road agents on a stage he is guarding, he thereby averts a stagecoach robbery. But it turns out the sheriff is the leader of the gang and he kills Possum for spoiling the robbery. Thereby the sheriff is exposed as a crook and Clair leads a citizen vigilante group, who wipe out all the outlaws. By that time statehood is declared and the vigilantes are disbanded for ‘law and order.’