WILD AND THE INNOCENT, THE
(director/writer: Jack Sher; screenwriter: story by Sy Gomberg; cinematographer: Harold Lipstein; editor: George Gittens; music: Hans Salter; cast: Audie Murphy (Yancy Hawks), Sandra Dee (Rosalie Stocker), Joanne Dru (Marcie Howard), George Mitchell (Uncle Lije), Gilbert Roland (Sheriff Paul Bartel), Strother Martin (Ben Stocker), Jim Backus (Cecil Forbes), Peter Breck (Chip), Betty Harford (Mrs. Forbes), Wesley Marie Tackitt (Ma Ransome), Alexander Campbell (Ogilvie), Lillian Adams (Kiri Hawks), Arte Johnson (Barker), Bill Lally (Grady); Runtime: 84; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Sy Gomberg; Universal-International; 1959)
“Lumbering B Western.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Lumbering B Western. Director Jack Sher (“The Three Worlds of Gulliver”/”Four Girls in Town”) tries to make it a comedy, but there are no laughs in the weak screenplay by Sy Gomberg and Sher, or from the dumb story by Gomberg. This is one of Audie Murphy’s lesser Westerns. It comes when his film career is in decline.
With his uncle (George Mitchell) injured by a bear, backwoods mountain trapper Yancy (Audie Murphy) must go for the first time to Casper, Wyoming, to sell his pelts after the local trading post is burnt to the ground by drunken Indians. The sleazy drifter Ben Stocker (Strother Martin) sold the Indians the bad moonshine that drove them crazy. The bum then manages to palm off his innocent eldest daughter Rosalie (Sandra Dee) on the religious Yancy. She accompanies him on a two-day ride to the lawless town of Casper, after telling him she ditched her worthless father and will get work in Casper.
Paul Bartel (Gilbert Roland), the randy sheriff of Casper, who owns the town dance hall, saves the innocent Yancy from a rowdy fight-happy ranch-hand named Chip (Peter Breck) who pulls a gun on him, on the day the town has its annual Independence Day celebration featuring a fair. The rube Yancy then gets cheated selling his pelts to the general store owner Forbes (Jim Backus), and causes a riot when cheated by a con man operating a shell game. The sheriff retrieves Yancy’s money, and the dance hall manager, Ma Ransome (Wesley Marie Tackitt), hires Rosalie to be a dancer. Yancy meanwhile chases after the dance hall floozy Marcy (Joanne Dru) until realizing what she does for a living is akin to prostitution and goes against his values. Yancy, after coming to his senses, tries to rescue Rosalie from the dance hall and to do that must kill the sheriff in a gun duel. Leaving for home alone, he’s won over by Rosalie’s intense gaze pleading to join him. She returns with him to-be his bride after winning him over with her innocence.
REVIEWED ON 8/12/2017 GRADE: C+ https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/