27 March 2010 | bkoganbing
Telling A False Tale
Tension At Table Rock casts Richard Egan as a misunderstood gunman who gets a phony reputation as a backshooting coward because he outdrew the wanted Paul Richards and Richard's girlfriend Angie Dickinson who was the only witness told a false tale.
Now having to operate under an assumed name, Egan falls in with orphan Billy Chapin after he eliminates those who killed Chapin's father Joe DeSantis and made him an orphan. He delivers young Billy to the town of Table Rock where his aunt and uncle live and uncle Cameron Mitchell is a much put upon sheriff.
After this the film does run along the established plot lines of Shane somewhat. Mitchell makes a Faustian bargain with trail boss John Dehner to not tear up the town too much mainly because he got beaten really badly by a whole bunch of Dehner's trailhands on the previous drive. But when one of them shoots down an unarmed farmer and then tries to get away with it Egan gets into action.
Dorothy Malone is in Tension At Table Rock as well. 1956 was the same year Malone got her career Oscar winning role for Written On The Wind. The sexual tension between the stranger Egan and her is unmistakable and it's where people draw comparisons between Tension At Table Rock and Shane.
Though she's on only briefly in the beginning Angie Dickinson really does shine in the part of a woman who gets vengeance for her man. Another really good performance is that of Edward Andrews the saloon owner who could care less if the drunken trailhands shoot up the town and kill a few people as long as they drink in his saloon and his profits don't get cut into.
Towards the end of that studio's existence RKO was getting into some serious adult B westerns as was its competitor Republic, the stuff that would later be a staple for fifties and sixties television. Tension At Table Rock is a good example of the adult type westerns that would later be found on television.