29 January 2013 | bkoganbing
Overboard in villainy
The presence of Leonard Nimoy as a hotheaded, but not terribly bright Indian chief is what makes this Rex Allen western any kind of memorable. It's not one of his better efforts and the script kind of wanders all over the lot.
Roy Barcroft is a rather greedy villain in the sense that he thinks all people are rubes, white and red alike. He's building a railroad in partnership with Gil Herman playing Rex Allen's brother Jim.
From the start I'm really thinking Barcroft is all over the map. He needs cheap labor for his railroad so what does he do, stir up the Indians with a few guns, promise of more and a lot of liquor. He talks Nimoy into an attack on a wagon train of settlers, kill a few of them, then break off the attack. With the train burned and provisions gone the settlers will work for wages to replenish their train.
Sounds good so far although Rex Allen is mighty suspicious about an Indian attack that breaks off suddenly with no apparent reason. And the Indians as a rule don't go in for limited victories. Rex is the new Indian agent sent out by the federal government to see who's stirring things up. Little does he realize he's going to get into a bad situation with brother Jim.
Not only that Barcroft who presumably wants to get his railroad finished starts robbing the payrolls and issuing scrip that store owner Harry Harvey, Sr. will only pay 25 cents on the dollar. That's no way to build a railroad. Are you surprised that it doesn't get built?
Slim Pickens is Rex's sidekick again who has a negative view of Indians and his usual leading lady Mary Ellen Kay is along for the ride.
I think the writers went a lot overboard in Barcroft's villainy. It makes Old Overland Trail somewhat incoherent.