(director: Ray Nazarro; screenwriters: from the story by Steve Fisher/Steve Fisher/Richard Schayer; cinematographer: Lester White; editors: Henry Adams/Dwight Caldwell; music: Irving Gertz; cast: Sterling Hayden (Rick Martin), William Bishop (Canby Judd), Karen Booth (Laura Mead), James Millican (Marshal Bat Davis), Regis Toomey (Jim O’Hara), Hugh Sanders (Ed Marsh), John Dehner (Tom Quentin), Rod Taylor (Lem Sutter), William ‘Bill’ Phillips (Gorse); Runtime: 74; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Edward Small; Fame Pictures; 1955)

“An obvious rip-off of High Noon.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Ray Nazarro (“Gun Belt”/”Kansas Pacific”/”The Phantom Stagecoach”) helms this stale minor Western. It’s an obvious rip-off of High Noon (1952). Based on a story by Steve Fisher, who cowrites it with Richard Schayer.

Famed gunman Rick Martin (Sterling Hayden) returns to his chilly hometown of Casper, Wyoming, to visit his beloved mother’s grave and warn sheriff Bat Davis (James Millican) that outlaw Tom Quentin (John Dehner) and a gang of 15 will pull a raid on the town tomorrow. The town council ostracizes Rick, not wanting his help and asking him to leave. To add to Rick’s gripe with the town, he learns that Canby Judd (William Bishop) killed his mother so he can swindle her ranch and he’s engaged to his ex-girlfriend Laura Mead (Karen Booth). When Bat and his deputies get gunned down, it’s every man for himself. The cowardly townspeople are forced to ask Rick to be sheriff. In the final showdown, Laura comes to her senses and aids Rick by plugging Canby before he can shoot the real hero of the pic in the back as he duels with Quentin. It ends in a predictable fashion, with Rick clearing his name and tying the knot with Laura. The couple shove off to California for a fresh start, as the townspeople beg them to stay.