5 January 2008 | bkoganbing
Stopping A Range Feud
The final phase of Joel McCrea's career was spent at Allied Artists, the renamed Monogram Pictures, where he did a group of good B westerns. The Tall Stranger based on a Louis L'Amour novel is one of the best.
McCrea spots some cattle rustling and is left for dead after being shot by one of the rustlers. He's found by members of a wagon train who nurse him back to health. But Joel's real suspicious of the leader of this train of ex-Confederates who is George Neise. They're looking to settle on land owned by Barry Kelley who is McCrea's half brother and who is estranged from McCrea over the Civil War.
What Neise is looking to do is start a nice range war with Kelley and his plan is based on the fact that Kelley's a mean and hard-bitten old soul who shoots first and asks questions later. It's up to McCrea to keep things from boiling over. How successful he is, you'll have to see the film for.
You won't be disappointed if you do see the film. Virginia Mayo is the woman with a small son, Phil Phillips, on the wagon train that Joel takes a hankering to. A very mean and cunning villain played by Michael Ansara also has a hankering for Mayo and he's not one to go about the usual courting procedures.
Besides those already mentioned such western regulars as Ray Teal, Leo Gordon, Michael Pate, and Whit Bissell are in the cast. It's nice to see Leo Gordon in a role that doesn't call for him to be a mean psychopath.
The Tall Stranger is a good fast paced western that fans of the genre and fans of Joel McCrea will definitely like.