(director: Joseph Pevney; screenwriter: Bob Barbash; cinematographer: Gene Polito; editor: Tom McAdoo; music: Leonard Rosenman; cast: Jeff Chandler (Sam Christie), Marsha Hunt (Kate Miller), Dolores Hart (Ellie Walters), Jay C. Flippen (Sheriff Tom McCauley), Ray Stricklyn (Jeb), John Saxon (Rondo), Roger Torrey (Mule), Dee Pollock (Davy), Vaughn Taylor (Jess Walters), James Westerfield (Mike Baron), Joseph Hamilton (Abilene), Harvey Stephens (Doc Fuller), Ray Ferrell (Billy Miller); Runtime: 94; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Joseph Pevney; Allied Artists; 1960)
“The film has been fairly compared to The Wild One.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A decent Western about four punks who take over a frightened town and terrorize it until its one-armed Civil War veteran hero overcomes his self-pity and rids the town of these young toughs. Director Joseph Pevney (“3 Ring Circus”/”Away All Boats”/”Torpedo Run”) crisply directs this taut but predictable screenplay byBob Barbash.
Four young cowboys, Jeb (Ray Stricklyn), Rondo (John Saxon), Mule (Roger Torrey), and Davy (Dee Pollock), ride into the dusty town of Trail City while still fuming that they lost all their trail money in Dodge City and were treated like dogs, resolving not to let that happen again. The four punks, led by Jeb, refuse to pay their bar tab and the old sheriff (Jay C. Flippen) allows them to get away with it if they promise to leave town in the morning after spending a night in jail. When the boys are let out of jail, instead of leaving town they once again purchase items they refuse to pay for and get away with it.This time its clothes at the general store. The boys also refuse to pay for their hotel room and food, and the old sheriff is laughed at when he tries to get them to leave. Emboldened by the ease they took over the town and that they beat up the burly bartender (James Westerfield), the only one in town with nerve to fight back, the teenagers take all the guns from the general store. After they gun down the sheriff, their big guy, Mule, beats up the paralyzed in the arm rancher Sam Christie (Jeff Chandler) and he mocks him as a cripple. That turns out to be a mistake, as Sam uses his officer’s war experience to get the town to stand up to the punky kids and force a shoot-out with the scared teens picked off one by one.
Lessons learned come fast, such as the belief that if you stopped the punks early on by slapping them across the face, Sam says you would have stopped these troublesome cowboys right in their tracks and prevented them from becoming criminals.
Saxon gives a diabolic performance as the Mexican punk rapist, while a grimacing Chandler makes for a sympathetic hero who regains his courage when he overcomes feeling sorry for himself because he got crippled during the war.
The film has been fairly compared to The Wild One (1954).
REVIEWED ON 7/10/2011 GRADE: B