30 September 2004 | frankfob
Solid, tight little western
Director R.G. Springsteen spent many years at Republic Pictures turning out efficient little B westerns, and his expertise is evident in this crisp, sharp little western. From around 1960 to about 1966 Universal churned out a stream of quickie westerns, most of them run-of-the-mill at best and low-grade junk at worst. This tight little oater, however, falls into neither category. A cast of western veterans like Emile Meyer, Ray Teal, Dick Foran and the great Dan Duryea, and a more than competent leading man in Tony Young, combine with a good story and Springsteen's firm hand to make this one of the best B westerns to come out of Universal in that period. Young plays Taggart, a man who gunned down the son of a powerful local rancher who led a gang that attacked his camp and murdered his parents. The dead son's dying father sends hired killers out to track down and kill Taggart. Fleeing through Apache territory, he comes to the aid of an old man and his daughter defending their gold mine against rampaging Indians. Young reminds you of Gary Cooper in his early years, although a bit more animated, and it's a shame his career never really went anywhere, as he's quite good in this (he also shot another western around this time, "He Rides Tall," and is equally as good in that one). Long-time cowboy actor Dick Foran plays the father, and the gorgeous Jean Hale--who years later married actor Dabney Coleman--is his daughter. The story is interesting, the scenery is pretty and Duryea is--as always--tremendous fun to watch. There's some sharp action, although a good chunk of it is obvious stock footage from other westerns, and things are resolved satisfactorily--though somewhat abruptly--at the end, something that didn't always happen in Universal's westerns of the period. All in all, a very watchable little B picture. You could do a lot worse than spending some time on this one.