Rebel in Town (1956)

Approved   |    |  Western

Rebel in Town (1956) Poster

After the Civil War, in a Yankee town five Confederates find trouble when one of them accidentally shoots a local young boy.


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29 July 2009 | matchettja
| Not the stuff of usual westerns
In postwar Civil War, a father and his four sons, all former Rebel soldiers, eke out a living robbing, always on the run. When three of the brothers ride into town to get water, tragedy occurs when one of them guns down a young boy who has fired at them with his cap pistol. Most of the focus is on five main characters: Bedloe Mason, his sons Gray and Wesley, John Willoughby and his wife, Nora.

Bedloe, the patriarch of the Mason clan, and his four sons were forced to leave their burned out home in Alabama after the Civil War. Bedloe's main concern is to keep his family together, so whenever the family faces trouble, they vote on what they should do. After the boy is killed, the vote is to keep on the run, leaving the trouble behind them.

Gray, the youngest Mason son, is uncomfortable with the idea of running away. After long introspection, he decides the only honorable thing to do is to return to the town, regardless of consequences. Gray's decision disturbs Wesley, the unrepentant killer who is afraid this will result in him being implicated.

After the killing, John Willoughby, father of the unfortunate youngster, loses grip with reality as he wrestles with grief and desire for revenge at any cost. Recognizing this and not wanting any further bloodshed, Nora struggles to keep her man rational and sane. For that reason she refuses to identify a wounded man John brings home as one of the Rebels she saw in town on that fateful day.

Though a "B" western, "Rebel in Town" benefits from good acting, competent direction and an intelligent, well-written script with lots of things for us to think about. Bedloe, a religious man, tries to comfort his troubled son with the thought that sometimes there is no answer so it is better just to let things be, further suggesting that since we are all the children of God, He is responsible for what we do, whether good or bad. Gray counters that he cannot consider his brother an agent for God. Such kind of writing is hardly the stuff of usual westerns.

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