8 November 2014 | dougdoepke
Pretty good town-bound western. Stolid Ben Cutler (MacMurray) gets promoted to marshal after predecessor is killed in a bank robbery. Trouble is kid (Vaughn), who looks like he shot the marshal, is old boyfriend of Cutler's daughter (Blackman). Now the marshal has to decide whether there should be leniency for the kid or not, since the town's people have decided there's not enough evidence. I get the feeling a popular youth theme of the 50's is being recycled. That is, should the good girl follow her heart and go with the hell-bent boy, or go with her upbringing and the wholesome youth who goes with it (Drury). This deepens the plot since it may mean dad Cutler has personal reasons for executing the heck-bent kid.
Except for a posse chase across scenic desert terrain, action is confined to the town and courtroom. Fortunately, the screenplay mostly compensates. Then too, MacMurray is one of Hollywood's most underrated actors. Here, he has on his grimly determined face, and delivers a convincing turn. Robert Vaughn also scores as the weakly dangerous Eddie, with an appropriate array of twitchy expressions. And catch that supporting cast, a near who's-who of 50's performers. I just wish ones like the scary Stacy Harris got more screen time. Nonetheless, it's good to see ace veterans like Wendell Holmes and Edmond Ryan pick up a featured payday. Of course, the girls look like they just stepped out of a beauty spa, something 50's oaters could not seem to avoid. Dirty up the guys, sure, but never the women.
Overall, it's a decent western with some suspense, a badly staged fist-fight, and an ironic climax. But nothing exceptional among the many oaters that filled the 50's big screen.