7 May 2013 | Spikeopath
You can't clean up Quinto with printers ink!
Badman's Territory is directed by Tim Whelan and written by Jack Natteford and Luci Ward. It stars Randolph Scott, George Hayes, Ann Richards, Ray Collins, James Warren, Morgan Conway, Virginia Sale and John Halloran. Music is by Roy Webb and cinematography by Robert de Grasse.
The area known as Badman's Territory is a sort of no mans land not yet governed by statehood. No law resides there, the citizens themselves run the area, so as it stands it has become a safe haven for the outlaws and ragamuffins of the West. Into the Badman's Territorial town of Quinto comes lawman Mark Rowley (Scott), who after trailing his injured deputy brother into the area, finds a town bursting at the seams with political intrigue.
A lively Oater out of RKO, Badman's Territory is only really guilty of cramming too much onto its plate of beans. The town of Quinto is home to some of the Wild West's most notable criminals, such as The James and Dalton Gangs et al, it's also home to many shifty politician types, Indians (as it's their land), business men, a leading lady of the press (Richards) and of course Randolph Scott and his bro played by James Warren.
The writers take these character threads and try and weave them all together into a cohesive whole, thus we get an outlaw backdrop that never really materialises, a power of the press motif that apparently needed a romantic angle to push it along, and the looming annexation of the area into the Union provides the heartbeat of the story but comes off as a complex narrative piece since so much is going on. While director Whelan is required to insert a horse race, a square dance and the obligatory shoot-out to ensure nobody is bogged down by the ever present politico chatter.
Scott is as always splendid in this environment, a natural, while Richards does fine work with a pleasingly strong female lead role. "Gabby" Hayes provides the lively comic relief and Conway is suitably oily as crooked lawman William Hampton. However, again because there is so much going on, supporting actors like Lawrence Tierney and Steve Brodie (Jessie James and Bob Dalton respectively) barely get time to impact on proceedings. Which since this is called Badman's Territory is a bit of a bum steer. But in spite of the too many cooks spoiling the broth theme at work, it's watchable stuff and definitely one for Randolph Scott fans to seek out. 6/10