Ride Beyond Vengeance (1966)


(director: Bernard McEveety; screenwriters: Andrew J. Fenady/from the novel “The Night of the Tiger” by Al Dewlen; cinematographer: Lester Shorr; editor: Otho Lovering; music: Richard Markowitz; cast: Chuck Connors (Jonas Trapp, the Tiger), Michael Rennie (Brooks Durham), Kathryn Hays (Jessie Trapp), Joan Blondell (Mrs. Lavender), Gloria Grahame (Bonnie Shelley), Gary Merrill (Dub Stokes), Bill Bixby (Johnsy Boy Hood), Claude Akins (Elwood Coates), Paul Fix (Hanley), Marrisa Mathes (Maria), Ruth Warrick (Aunt Gussie), William Bryant (Bartender), James MacArthur (the census taker), Arthur O’Connell (Narrator and bartender), Buddy Baer (Mr. Kratz), Frank Gorshin (Tod Wisdom), Robert Q. Lewis (The Hotel Clerk); Runtime: 100; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producer: Andrew J. Fenady; Sony; 1966)

“Just a morbid Western.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Ultra-violent dreck revenge Western, in imitation of the sphagetti Western, has little entertainment or critical value. Its violence is the film’s main calling card and raison d’être. Just a morbid Western that’s studio-bound, poorly done and the well-known cast looks like they all have egg on their face or should have. Under the unskilled direction of Bernard McEveety (“Broken Sabre”/”One Little Indian”), it’s stagnant and ugly. Since it was made by Chuck Conners’ Branded teleseries, it looks like a telefilm (probably meant for TV, but done-in by too much blood and gore for that medium). The needlessly complex screenplay, further saddled with an annoying double flashback structure, is lamely written by producer Andrew J. Fenady; it’s based on the book by Al Dewlen.

The film is framed around a tale of a bartender (Arthur O’Connell) telling a modern-day census taker (James MacArthur) in the small Texas town of Coldiron a legendary revenge story that once happened in this Old West town.

Poor boy Jonas Trapp (Chuck Conners) marries Jessie (Kathryn Hays) in the 1880s and is mocked for marrying her for her ailing Aunt Gussie’s (Ruth Warrick) money. The proud Jonas leaves to go buffalo hunting and comes home after 11 years away from his spoiled dress shop owner wife Jessie with $17,000 to give her and show her he deserves some respect as a breadwinner. But before he reaches her, outside of town, under the pretense that he’s a cattle thief, Jonas is robbed and branded and left for dead by the sadistic crooked ranch foreman Elwood Coates (Claude Akins), con man Johnsy Boy Hood (Bill Bixby) and leading citizen banker Brooks Durham (Michael Rennie). The real rustlers are the banker and his hired henchman, an old man named Hanley (Paul Fix).

The gist of the film has Jonas, known as the Tiger, not dying as expected and going after the three who did him wrong and trying to win back his wife Jessie, who is all set to walk down the aisle with Brooks thinking hubby is dead.

These mediocresmake even a third-ratespaghetti Western seem tastier.