7 January 2009 | hitchcockthelegend
Dr. Allen Seward (Robert Francis) is assigned to a western cavalry post, due to his predecessors failings he finds that he is instantly disliked, and even worse, not trusted. Things worsen when during a confrontation at an Indian Reservation, Seward attempts to help an ill Indian infant and befriends the tribe doctor. As the war with the Indians escalates, so does the hatred from the camp towards Seward, with the men even refusing his medical treatment, but with the support of the lovely Laurie MacKaye, and a bond formed with Manyi-ten, an Indian Bride, Seeward may just be the solution to end this troubled conflict?
They Rode West is nothing special in the pantheon of inspiring and intelligent Westerns, what it isn't is one of those boorish standard Cavalry Vs Indians shoot them ups. Playing out with a lot of heart and a purpose of intent, it's a film that has a nice colour sheen, has some real solid acting and doesn't outstay its welcome. Notable for being the first of only four films that a 25 year old Robert Francis would make before being tragically killed in an aeroplane crash, They Rode West will not excite those in search of wall to wall gunfights, it will however be of interest to those who like a story of humane conflict via verbal beliefs. Of the other notables in the cast, Donna Reed adds the required touch of prettiness as Laurie MacKaye and Philip Carey does a nice line as the grumpy commander, Captain Blake. Direction from Phil Karlson is as steady as you would expect for this type of production, to leave me only left to say that it's a recommended film to see the first work of an interesting actor in the making, and of course for a bit of nous in the story. 6/10