21 August 2019 | Henchman_Number1
Rory Razes the Town
Santee (Rory Calhoun), a frustrated with his lot in life ranch hand, becomes a bounty hunter when he decides to go after a bank robber with a $3000.00 price on his head. Realizing he has an affinity and skill set for this type work, he sets off chasing down one bad guy after another. Soon he sets his sights
even higher when he strikes up a deal with wealthy town big shot Gus Kile (Lon Chaney Jr.) to bring siege upon the neighboring town of Lark so the railroad will divert their planned path to run through Kile's land. In order to decimate the town, Santee buys the local saloon and imports his own band of thugs and saloon girls (Linda Darnell, Bruce Cabot, Richard Arlen) in the hopes of making Lark a crime ridden cesspool. However things go off-kilter when Santee runs into his former fiancee (Terry Moore) who is now married to the local sheriff (James Best).
Pretty typical A. C. Lyles 'second feature' Western. As such Black Spurs had a modest budget with television-like production quality. Much has been made of A. C. Lyles use of superannuated casting in the pursuit of name recognition and that's the case here. Rory Calhoun, even though not an 'old guy', was on the backside of his days as a leading man. Former screen siren Linda Darnell whose career for the previous decade consisted of guest appearances on episodic television, shares lead co-billing with Calhoun but her limited participation in this film amounts to little more than a cameo role in her last screen appearance. Even though past their prime and despite the fading star power, the cast was one of the film's strong points. The story line has an interesting premise but goes off track with characters that are introduced needlessly and subplots that go nowhere but partially saved
by director R.G. Springsteen who had done so many of these low budget productions that they could have almost handed him a phone book for a script with passable results.
Black Spurs is a decent flick but suffers in varying degrees from the budget, script and being late in the cycle of the traditional western. By 1965 the Spaghetti Western carried the day at theaters while this type of western had been primarily assigned to network television. Even so, Lyles was able to get a last handful of these old-school westerns made. Some would say with mixed results. Nevertheless western fans may find enough to enjoy here.