One year after the Noir classic Kiss of Death, Victor Mature re-teamed with Coleen Gray in this enjoyable black and white western from 20th Century Fox.
The film starts with the massacre of an army fort when a band of Indians led by a vicious looking Jay Silverheels ride in under the guise of a wagon train. From here the film jumps to a court martial involving the General who is believed to have made a tactical error resulting in the attack. The General dies in the court room. Most everyone believes he was involved with some underhanded dealings with a load of silver to be mined on the Indian reservation. The attack results in the Indians being relocated and Albert Dekker moving in and becoming a rich man in the silver business.
Clearing the General’s name falls upon his two sons. One a military man played by Glenn Langan and the other a family outcast, gambler and gunfighter played by our leading man, Victor Mature. Both arrive separately under assumed identities with no intention of reuniting as brothers.
Langan wants nothing to do with Mature while Mature wants Langan out of town as he believes he is closing in on the truth. The key to the mystery is Reginald Gardiner who was the officer in charge of the wagon train before it was overtaken by Silverheels.
Mature has quietly become one of Dekker’s leading gunman after out shooting Fred Clark. It’s Dekker that wants Mature to take out Langan. He’s unaware that they are actually brothers. He only knows that Langan is here to dig into his silver operation. Can you guess who set up the General?
In between punches and gunplay, Victor takes a little time to romance Gray. When she realizes just who he is and a gunslinger as well the romance takes a turn for the worse. Hopefully when the outlaws are buried and Mature exonerated she’ll come around.
This mystery western was directed by H. Bruce Humberstone. Bruce had directed Mature in I Wake Up Screaming after doing some of the early Charlie Chan’s with Warner Oland. From here he’d move into musicals and Gordon Scott Tarzan films.
For fans of the atomic age, Glenn Langan would eventually become The Amazing Colossal Man in 1957.
Beautiful Coleen Gray was in a both Kiss of Death and Nightmare Alley prior to this effort and would also appear in Red River this same year. A pretty impressive list of titles for a relative newcomer.
Like Gregory Peck says while narrating the trailer, “No theater goer should miss it.”
I’ve warmed to Mature’s westerns over the years, though I still think noir was a better fit for him.
And Humberstone really is an underrated director.
Mature is one of those guys who was often better than the material in his later films but this time both he and the film are well matched. Yes Humberstone’s name is on some enjoyable titles for sure.
Agree on Colin’s comment about Humberstone, he did a good job in totally different genres, quite a few movies I really like, in noir and musical as well as western.
yes and he did the great Oland film Charlie Chan at the Opera.