7 December 2018 | ma-cortes
Standard and routine Western with colorful scenarios set during the California gold rush
It is set In 1849, during the California gold rush, the year in which the name John Sutter was Heard all around the world. Gold was the magic word that sent hundreds, then thousands of men swarming into the vast territory of California . There a prospector called Jan Morell (Richard Conte) and his brother Frank plan to save enough gold in order to buy good farming land in the Napa Valley , as subsequently , they have staked a claim . One day, while Jan and Frank are prospecting in a nearby river , a band of thugs and claim jumpers led by Jack Welch and Hank Purvis ransack Jan's cabin, steal his gold dust , then Morell discovers a tragedy and he seeks revenge . Later on , a wounded Morrell is is found by Mexican Felipe De Ortega (Richard Martin) who takes him to his home where his sister (Viveca Lindfords) nurses him and both of whom fall in love . At the location rules a wealthy landowner named Thomas Ainsworth (Morris Ankrum) , owner of the Sierra Land Company and , acting as regional mayor, opposes California's entry into the Union in order to avoid the eventual Federal law-enforcement, land management and insight into California's affairs. Meanwhile , Jan kills enemies and then he is wanted : dead or dead , as he has a rewarding poster : ¨Jan Morrell wanted dead or alive ,10.000 reward , offered by Alcalde Thomas Ainsworth , for the bandit known as Jan Morrell , formerly of Angel's Camp , who , with his band of outlaws , held up the Monterey stage , killing and making off a large quantity of gold¨. Then , Morell adds : ¨I will give 5000 for Ainsworth¨. Here come The Raiders - sweeping the gold plundering hordes from the face of the wild Sierras ! The last furious days of the mighty gold mine wars ! . Those who tried to enforce the law were destroyed, as were the innocent, the courts were powerless to keep order and the guilty went unpunished . Mob rule reigned and the times were ripe for those who would control at any cost . The wild Sierras thunder to the last great gold mine wars ! For a woman's love he rode the lawless trail of the hunted .
Set during the California gold rush when fear and violence spread throughout the land , as the lust for Gold soon became a raging fever that brought death to conscience and dealing with a prospector who swears vengeance by deciding to join a bunch and to fight against a nasty villain called Ainsworth , using Ainsworth's own ruthless tactics . The film packs noisy action , go riding , shootouts , high body-count , a love story and it is fast-moving and quite entertaining . There is plenty of action in the movie , guaranteeing some shoot'em up or stunts every few minutes . There is a very odd implementation of shots in the camera work during some particular scenes as the film approaches its climax , as well as a criminal court at a saloon where Morrell is judged . The movie gets the usual Western issues , such as avenger heroes , violent facing-off , exaggerated baddies , riding pursuits , gun-play , among them . The sense of pacing is such that this film can be counted on to move quickly and smoothly . Good production design creating an attractive scenario with luminous outdoors , dirty and rocky landscapes under a glimmer sun and fine sets but in B-series style . Richard Conte gives an acceptable acting as a prospector who swears vendetta and he goes after the gang of murderous claim-jumpers who have stolen his claim and killed his beloved beings. His partenaire is the gorgeous Viveca Lindfords who had a long career as a notorious actress . Nice acting by Morris Ankrum as the baddie Alcalde Thomas Ainsworth , the man responsible for all the land grabbing and claim jumping acts done in the region . And fine suport cast , plenty of ordinary Western faces such as : Richard Martin , Hugh O'Brian , Gregg Palmer , William Bishop , Frank Wilcox , John Kellogg , George J. Lewis , Francis McDonald and Dennis Weaver's film debut .
Atmospheric and adequate musical score by uncredited Henry Mancini , Herman Stein , Universal's regular . And colorful as well as brilliant cinematography by Carl E. Guthrie . The motion picture efficiently produced by William Alland /Universal Pictures , being professionally directed by Lesley Selander . Selander is generally considered to be the most prolific director of feature Westerns of all time , with at least 107 to his credit between 1935 and 1967. He realized his first feature in 1936, a western , genre in which he would not only excel but one where he would spent much of the rest of his career. Although Selander couldn't be deemed an "A"-list director, his movies had a professionalism and a verve that many of those made by his fellow B directors lacked . As he made a lot of Western , as he began in this genre with series starred by Buck Jones and ¨Hopalong Cassidy¨ series starred by William Boyd such as ¨Silver on the sage¨ , ¨Three men from Texas¨ and ¨Wide open town¨. In Republic production he directed his better movies such as ¨Panhandle¨and ¨Stampede¨ starred by Rod Cameron and in RKO he directed Tim Holt in 20 films such as ¨Rio Grande patrol¨ and ¨Overland telegraph¨. Selander finished directing about 106 horse operas helmed between 1917 and 1949 . He subsequently shot B-movies such as ¨Fort Vengeance¨, ¨Left handed law¨, ¨Heritage of the desert¨, ¨Arrow in the desert¨, ¨Shotgun¨, ¨Town tamer¨ and his last picture ¨Texas Kid¨ filmed in Spain with Audie Murphy . He also filmed detective thrillers, action/adventure motion pictures and even a horror film or two . One standout that is seldom seen nowadays, however, is ¨Return from the Sea¨ (1954), a sentimental and lyrical story . The last few feature films he made, in the mid- and late 1960s, were a string of what's come to be known as "geezer westerns" churned out by producer A.C. Lyles, embarrassing efforts made on the cheap that were meant to give employment to aging cowboy stars ; the less said about them . Rating : 6 . Acceptable and passable