11 December 2005 | bob the moo
Could have been much darker and better but was still a solid enough western
After the shoot out at the OK Corral, Ike Clanton brides officials to start legal proceedings against Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday for the murder of his brother. The judge weighs up the evidence and spots some contradictions in key parts of the prosecution case and thus acquits Earp and Holliday and rules the shoot out was part of them fulfilling their duties as lawmen. Unsatisfied with this ruling, Clanton gets a couple of his men to kill Wyatt's brothers setting the law man on a quest to bring Clanton in but is he seeking justice or revenge? I had never heard of this film until recently but I decided to give it a try when I read it was a sequel to OK Corral. In essence it is a rather old-fashioned western but it has a nice mean air to it that I found complimented the material. The plot is simple though and it never gets to grips with the darker side of the legends of Wyatt and Doc; perhaps because it was Sturges that directed but I would lie to see the film as it would have been made when The Wild Bunch turned the western genre on its head. Because here the focus is the story where really it needed to be on Wyatt the man as he loses touch with the lawman and starts to resemble much more of a driven revenge figure. It is a shame that the film doesn't go deeper into this but as it is it is still an enjoyable western that does what it does well enough for genre fans.
The cast are good despite not having anyone carried over from the first film. Garner does make for a mean Wyatt and even if the material doesn't go deep, Garner's eyes show that he understands what he is doing. Robards is enjoyable as Holliday and has one of the film's best dialogue scenes when he confronts the man he once looked up to. Ryan isn't as key as I had hoped and the narrative keeps him to the side for the majority of the film. The support cast are mainly good enough for the genre but it is Garner and Robards who dominate the whole thing.
Overall this is a solid and enjoyable period western. The dark revenge and hatred within Wyatt is hinted at but it is only really Garner who seems to want to really bring it out of his character as the film only toys with it while staying in firmly old-fashioned territory. Could have been a lot more interesting then but still manages to be an enjoyable western for fans of the genre as it was before changing in the late sixties.