31 May 2004 | bob the moo
A passable but sub-par movie even by b-movie standards, with missed opportunity just making matters worse
When his father is murdered trying to stop the illegal sale of guns across the Mexican border, his son, Mitch Baker, leaves his job and sets out for revenge. He arrives in the small western town to find it lawless and rowdy.
He finds lodging with a local reverend and his adopted children and starts to fall for the eldest the beautiful Angelita, but at the same time his desire for revenge and justice begin to eat him up inside. The reverend and Marshall Steve Evans both try and save him from himself.
From the opening cheese of the title song (which is awful!) you know that you are in b-movie land, and you'd be right to believe that for that is just what this film is. The plot is the usual revenge storyline with the usual romance thrown in to stretch it out. It is rather plodding at times and one has to wonder why it moves so very slowly and without action usually b-movies will fall back on tough talk and tough action to cover the lacking substance. For what it is it just about manages to be passable as a film but it is not great and it is also frustrating because it has elements that could have been used to better effect.
The character of Mitch is the main element that the film could have used better. He is a haunted, lonely man who needs saving just as much as the town he has come to does. However, other than referring to this several times during the film, it doesn't actually do anything interesting with it certainly all we see of this inner pain is that Mitch gets drunk once and staggers round town for 10 minutes like a bear with a sore head. Of course this failing and others all come down to the fact that there really isn't much of a script here and much of it is contrived to try and make it reach a respectable running time. Like I said, it still does what you expect it to (it certainly gets no worse than the title song!) but it could have been a much better movie, albeit still a b-movie.
The cast reflects the film's status. Brady is hardly a memorable leading man and he can't mange to make a complex character out of the material he is given. Instead it's like he flicks between normal mode and 'painful' mode, contributing to the feeling that the inner suffering thread is not really a thread so much as an afterthought that doesn't work. Bancroft's involvement is made more interesting by the fact that she is better known now than then.
Her character is flat though and she can do nothing with it apart from the usual love interest stuff, sadly she isn't even good enough looking to fill the traditional role of the genre. The rest of the cast are very much b-movie fare some are OK (Flippen and Davis) but some are poor (Gordon's Cherokee in particular).
Overall this is below average for the b-movie genre. It does what you expect it to do and it isn't actually that bad but it doesn't really do anything well at all from acting, the script, action right through to the delivery. It's just a shame that it didn't manage to do anything of note with the central character of Mitch other than hint at him having a character that is hardly touched on by the script.