28 January 2013 | bkoganbing
Stuck in a ghost town with an itch they won't scratch
A western that has way too much talk, but the talk does draw some deeply etched characters is Quantez. Had they pumped it up with a bit more action this could have been a classic. That is despite Fred MacMurray who really never felt right in westerns. He does all right by this one however.
The hot tempered John Larch leads a gang of outlaws fresh from a bank robbery takes his three men fleeing a posse. His henchmen are Fred MacMurray an experienced outlaw who doesn't talk much about himself, a young fast draw in John Gavin who is from the east and Sydney Chaplin a man raised among the Apaches in whose country they have to pass through. And he also brings his main squeeze Dorothy Malone for those cold desert nights.
The outlaws arrive in the freshly deserted town of Quantez, deserted because the Apaches under Michael Ansara have made it most uncomfortable to live. What to do, but take stock of the situation and formulate a plan to get across the desert.
So while they're stuck there, the true character of all comes forth. All of them are chafing under the leadership of Larch who once again is playing a rather arrogant, loudmouth individual who is a fast gun, but has little else to recommend them. And of course there's the presence of Malone who just by being there is giving them all an itch that Larch won't them scratch.
Only one other speaking part is in this film that of James Barton who plays a wandering painter and who has an extra horse they might need to make it across the desert. It would be smart if they all stuck together until the Indian crisis is passed or they're all dead, but Larch won't let that happen.
It's plain that MacMurray should be the gang leader, but he has reasons why he's not and for that you see Quantez for.
Quantez is a bit verbose, but the characters are interesting to say the least.