RATON PASS (aka: CANYON PASS/ALONG THE SANTA FE TRAIL)
(director: Edward L. Marin; screenwriters: novel by Tom W. Blackburn/Tom W. Blackburn/James R. Webb; cinematographer: Wilfrid M. Cline; editor: Tom Reilly; music: Max Steiner; cast: Basil Ruysdael (Pierre Challon ), Louis J. Heydt (Jim Pozner), James Burke (Hank), John Crawford (Sam), Dorothy Hart (Lena Casamajor), Roland Winters (Sheriff Perigord), Scott Forbes (Prentice), Dennis Morgan (Marc Challon), Patricia Neal (Ann), Steve Cochran (Cy Van Cleave); Runtime: 84; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Saul Elkins; WB; 1951=b/w)
“Peppy oddball Western.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Veteran studio director Edward L. Marin (“Nocturne”/”Tall in the Saddle”) sets this peppy oddball Western in the New Mexico territory of 1880.
Attractive scheming bad girl Ann (Patricia Neal) rides into the cattle town of Raton Pass from Colorado on the stage, with fellow passenger, the gunslinger Cy Van Cleave (Steve Cochran). But quickly dumps him once in town for cattle baron Marc Challon (Dennis Morgan). Marc and his father Pierre (Basil Ruysdael) control the area and are warring with the homesteaders led by Jim Pozner (Louis J. Heydt) over grazing land for the cattle and irrigation rights.
After Marc marries Ann, the ambitious woman romances Prentice (Scott Forbes), a Chicago railroad man doing financial business with her hubby. She gets the gullible Prentice to buy the ranch for her at an exorbitant price, as she plots to swindle the Challon son out of his half of the empire. Things get violent when hubby fights dirty to recover his losses and teams up with his former enemy Pozner, in an alliance of convenience, while Ann hires the killer Van Cleave to go after her hubby.
There’s a few shootouts and mucho moving around by horseback by both warring parties. Also the good girl Lena (Dorothy Hart), Pozner’s relative, falls for Marc. When the dust clears Marc gets back his ranch, begins a serious relationship with Lena, a peace takes hold between the poor homesteaders and the wealthy Marc, and Marc regains his ranch.
It’s based on the novel by Tom W. Blackburn, and is co-written by the author and James R. Webb. The B Western was shot in black and white. It’s parting message is: “It’s good to forgive, but better to forget.”
REVIEWED ON 10/3/2016 GRADE: B –