It's 1883 in the Wyoming Territory. Sam Brassfield (Robert Taylor) is owner of a giant cattle ranch (in fact the American title of the movie is Cattle King , and also titled Guns of Wyoming) , living along with Ruth Winters (Virginia Christine) , her husbad Ed Winters (Ray Teal) and his Mexican right hand man, a tough , two-fisted foreman named Johnny Quatro (Robert Loggia) . Sam took in his now young adult nephew and niece , Webb (Robert Ivers) and June Carter (Maggie Pierce) , upon the distressed circumstances concerning his sister . Webb is learning to be ranch hand thanks to Quatro , but his hotheadedness often hinders his right way . But someone cutting Sam's wire fences , as hired killers plunge Wyoming into ranch-war and then Sam joins his underlings to go into action . They contend Clay Mathew (one of the screen's best oily villains , Robert Middleton) , a Texas cattle baron who wishes open range all the way from Texas to the Canada border. Sam believes Clay's self interest is driven by he having purchased too many cattle for what his own land can support, as Sam stubbornly determines to stay put , though warned of a hired gunslinger . One other smaller neighboring ranch which has split priorities is that owned and operated by the Travers brothers . As Harry Travers (William Windom) , is a man with no backbone who is easily controlled by others farmers . On the other side is Henry's sister , Sharleen Travers (Joan Caufield) , who does most of the work on the ranch in Henry's uselessness, and who is in love with Sam . As the confrontation seems to become more and more personal between Sam and Clay , once the hero's best friend . Another factor influencing what happens in the matter is the visit to the region of President Chester A. Arthur (Larry Gates ) who attempts to keep peace and order . Land-robbers , hired killers!...the whole Wyoming territory wasn't big enough to hold those gunslingers and the "CATTLE KING" .'Rip down his fences ! Gun down his woman! but then they must answer to the man who walks like a giant and fights like a fury!
It deals with the usual western plot : Range War , as Sam/Robert Taylor who owns and operates the Teton cattle ranch alongside his foreman and housekeeper , husband and wife . On the other hand is Clay Mathews, a Texas cattle baron who wants that open range all the way from Texas to the Canada border resulting in a range war . Despite promising -not just Tay Garnett and big star Robert Taylor , but a nice camerawork- this MGM Western is pretty much a non-starter . The first half is efficient but slow and predictable , at the beginning a couple being attacked by a band of renegades secretly in pay of a land baron . Overall, though , this is a mighty slow ride through familiar pasture . Therefore , the script going in circles producing some boring incidents as appearance by US President himself , stoutly fighting for peace but losing any sense of dramatic process . Robert Taylor gives a passable acting in his habitual style as a wealthy landowner of Wyoming fighting to prevent the Texas herds from trampling his rich meadows . Robert Middleton plays splendidly a powerful cattle baron wanting eventually to oversupply the market with his inferior product at the end of the season to make millions . William Window is an alcoholic person , he is a man with no backbone who is easily manipulated . On the other side is Henry's sister , Sharleen Travers well played by powder-pluff blonde Joan Caufield , who does most of the work on the ranch in Henry's uselessness , and who is in a relationship with Sam . As well as Robert Loggia who likes his girls a little too much and delivers the hardness and bravura necessary to take down villains . And it is nice to see an important plethora of secondaries such as : Ray Teal , Virginia Christine , Robert Ivers , John Mitchum , Don Beddoe , Woodrow Parfrey , Malcolm Atterbury, Richard Devon as the hired gun in the form of badman Vince Bodine to execute his dirty work , as he seems to enjoy the character as the heavy for being the heavy's sake and , finally , Larry Gates who provides a plum role as true President Chester A. Arthur .
The picture was professional -though with no enthusiasm- directed by Tay Garnett . Following his service as a naval aviator in WW I, Tay Garnett entered films in 1920 as a screenwriter. After a stint as a gag writer for Mack Sennett and Hal Roach he joined Pathe, then the distributor for both competing comedy producers , and in 1928 began directing for that company. Garnett garnered some attention in the early 1930s with such films as On way passage (1932) and Her man (1930), but his best work came in the mid-'30s and early 1940s with such films as China Seas (1935), and Slave ship (1937) . He directed all kinds of genres as Wartime , Drama , Westerns , Musical , Adventure , such as : Challenge to be free , The big push , Main street to Broadway , One minute to Zero , Cause of alarm , The valley of decision , Mrs. Parkington , Cheers to Miss Bishop , Seven sinners , Slightly honorable , Eternally yours , Joy of living , Stand-in , The flying fool . His best known film would have to the John Garfield/Lana Turner vehicle The postman always rings twice (1946), although his version of A Connectticut Yankee in King Arthur's court (1949) was a hit , as well as his successful warlike movie : Bataan , that had a well-deserved critical and commercial applause , as well . Garnett journeyed to England in the early 1950s for several films, but upon his return made only a few pictures before jumping enthusiastically into television. Rating : 6/10 . Passable and decent western but not extraordinary.