31 July 2013 | Spikeopath
The Last Stagecoach West is directed by Joe Kane and written by Barry Shipman. It stars Jim Davis, Mary Castle, Victor Jory, Lee Van Cleef, Grant Withers, Roy Barcroft, John Alderson and Glenn Strange. Music is by Gerald Roberts and cinematography by Jack Marta.
Out of Republic Pictures and filmed in "Naturama", The Last Stagecoach West is a brisk black and whiter that may be routine but none the less crams as much as it can into its slim running time.
Plot is essentially about how the coming of the railroad to Cedar City spells the end of the stagecoach as the government gives the mail contract to the far faster mode of transport. The film actually begins with a race-off between a train and a stage! Angered by losing his stageline business, Rand McCord (Jory) fronts an outlaw gang who continually rob the railroad. The Railroad Protective Agency send their main man Bill Cameron (Davis) in undercover to crack the case.
What unfolds is a series of shoot-outs, duplicitous behaviour, chases, machismo, blossoming romance, family strife and the expected yeehaw ending. In spite of the low budget it's a nice and airy production, thought to be filmed on location in Towsley Canyon, Newhall, California, the scenery plays a nice part in proceedings. The acting is mostly formula fodder, but it's always nice to see Van Cleef in one of his shifty roles and Jory is good value as a working man gone bad.
It looks out of place as a Western released in 1957, and it's undeniably routine, but it's honest and full of vigour and never outstays its welcome. 6/10