Fugitive bank robber Joe Maybe steals the identity of a marshal and rides into a town whose judge asks Joe to act as town marshal but an old flame almost betrays his real identity forcing Joe to claim she's his wife.
Ring Hassard and father Jeff, wild horse breakers, live in a hidden mountain eyrie because Jeff is wanted for a murder he didn't commit. But things change when they take in a lost young lady, Riley Martin, who finds that Ring has "never seen a woman close up." Jeff is injured, Ring runs afoul of horse thieves and the law, and Riley (who turns out to be a lawyer) labors to clear the Hassards; but others would prefer them dead.Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
On September 29, 1949, four horses were injured and two killed while shooting a horse stampede scene. That same day, a 30-minute rainstorm caused a flash flood, which ruined about $10,000 of Technicolor photographic equipment. Hendrix came to the filming with a still-painful broken foot she had suffered earlier. She had nosebleeds and shortness of breath from the altitude in Utah, and in one scene, she was stung on the neck by yellow jackets. Murphy, already troubled with ulcers, nightmares, and PTSD from his war experiences, had severe cracked and blistering on his lips from the sun and literally could not smile due to the pain. Because Universal felt this was too noticeable on screen at times, after main production ended, a few of his scenes were re-shot later at Universal Studios. Main filming ended on October 3 and the next day, back in Hollywood, Hendrix announced that she and Murphy were separated. See more »
The herd of 500 horses is barely even 100 horses. See more »
This is ALMOST a western with a difference, but it just never really crosses that undefined line to enable it to really stand out amongst your typical 50's B grade oaters.
It has the sketchings of an interesting plot, great location cinematography in Utah and plenty of horseflesh on show. (I especially admired the piebald horse that Audie Murphy got to ride around.)
Unusually, there is very little gun-play in the movie. In fact I don't think any character is ever shot and killed during the entire film. Mind you that didn't stop me gasping in mock amazement, when a character is shot in the arm to save them (LOL!) from snakebite!
Wanda Hendrix's character had the chance to feature strongly as an independent woman carving out a legal career in the Wild West. But the script never allows a full exploration of the concept and she essentially ends up, as another typical damsel in distress, content to sink into the arms of Audie Murphy's Ring Hassard, seeking salvation from various encountered dangers.
Burl Ives's Lonesome is a welcome character to the story ... except when he continually breaks into song, or is seen singing and playing guitar, whilst riding his mule through the mountains! Such (fairly frequent) episodes dissipate any real sense of building drama in the story. Things reach their most absurd in this regard when Lonesome sings a compliant sheriff asleep, facilitating a jail break!
The characters themselves are pretty bland in what ends up being a rather routine affair. Murphy himself doesn't speak that much in the first act of this, his fifth film. We don't see enough of Dean Jagger's Jeff for him to make much impact. The villains are a pretty nondescript, non-threatening mob, when they raise their heads. However I did appreciate seeing "Anthony" Curtis and James Arness get an opportunity to show their respective spurs in fairly minor support roles in the second half of the movie.
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