(director: Ted Post; screenwriter: Charles Wallace; cinematographer: John Stephens; editor: Art Seid; music: George Duning; cast: Clint Walker (Marshal Dave Harmon), Barry Sullivan (Decker), Kathryn Hays (Julie Williams), John Kerr (Captain White), Peter Mark Richman (Major Lucas), Edgar Buchanan (Mules McNeil), Morgan Woodward (Arch King), Bruce Glover (Sam King), Neil Russell (Rol King), Robert Phillips (Saunders), Miguel Alejandro (Andres), Rudy Diaz (Caballo); Runtime: 73; MPAA Rating: PG; producer: Aaron Spelling; Universal; 1971)

“A well-acted but unimpressive made for TV Western.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A well-acted but unimpressive made for TV Western that’s directed by Ted Post and written by Charles Wallace. It’s filmed in Old Tucson and the Paramount back lot.

Newly appointed hard-nosed and deep-voiced rugged looking Marshal Dave Harmon (Clint Walker) arrives in lawless Yuma and arrests the trail herding King brothers, Sam and Rol, for hijacking a stagecoach and drunken and lewd behavior in town. The hot-headed Sam fires three shots at the marshal and is killed, Rol is jailed. The marshal is warned by greedy cattle buyer Decker (Barry Sullivan) that their big brother Arch (Morgan Woodward) is the trail boss and he won’t stand for the action taken against his brothers. The marshal doesn’t care, and calmly gets a room in a hotel across the street owned by the beautiful and single Julie Williams (Kathryn Hays). In her insignificant role, Hays wears lovely dresses and is tossed a few forgettable lines so that we know she’s the marshal’s love interest.

Homeless Mexican runaway Andres is looked after by Harmon, who lets him sleep in the jailhouse. The kid witnesses two men, who later we learn turn out to be Captain White and Saunders, who free Rol and then Saunders shoots him in the back. The blame falls on the marshal as Decker, the gang’s brain, figures this will get Arch riled up to kill the nosy law-and-order marshal. When Harmon visits the local army post, the commander Major Lucas tells him White is the quartermaster and one of his responsibilities is to deliver beef to the Indians on the reservation as promised in the peace treaty. Harmon learns on his Indian visit the beef is not being delivered. Worried the Indians will go on the warpath if they are left starving, he works with the Major to set a trap for the three villains and uses his persuasive powers to tell Arch that he will get the killer of Rol if he gives him some time. Mules McNeil (Edgar Buchanan) is the shifty owner of a freight company, who suspiciously always sends in higher bids than Decker and tries to throw off suspicions against himself by pretending to be friendly.

It all works out to a final confrontation between Decker and the marshal, and the unmasking of Decker’s sneaky boss (which is not that hard to guess!).

REVIEWED ON 11/4/2005 GRADE: C+      https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/