29 May 2007 | Marlburian
bit ponderous, but a Western with a difference
The first 30 minutes of this film are very gritty, with Wes Steele in trouble from the start, discovering the stage with its murdered passengers and then becoming a fugitive trapped in a town. Then the film tapers off a bit, and it's a little hard to accept that Nadine comes to trust him so quickly.
I'm conscious of my own pedantry, but have to note that Milland here joins Gary Cooper and Randolph Scott in playing a middle-aged Westerner who has little trouble in attracting a much younger woman - he was 50 when the film was released. And if being the notorious Wes Steele is such a handicap, why not assume a false name - it would have been difficult for the authorities to disprove a false identity. (Richard Egan in "Tension at Table Rock" was another notorious Wes - Tancred in this case and in the ballad that accompanied the film - who diligently signed his real name in hotel registers, only for the clerk to react in distaste.) The "Time Out" review describes Milland's direction as "sometimes a little too ponderously deliberate, but - like the performances - eminently watchable", and I agree with this. The plot made a pleasant change from the run-of-the-mill Westerns of the 1940s and 1950s.