This is a little more than a 'routine' western. It has some historical basis. The romantic couple: Lilly(Joanne Dru) and Clint(John Ireland), who have the most screen time, are quite fictional. But Edmond Beale(Rod Cameron)was quite a famous trail blazer and surveyor in his day. The supposed camel trip across Utah, New Mexico and Arizona was a mix of two of his trips. The trip where he used camels was actually from Fort Defiance, central NM, straight across central AZ to the Colorado River. This became a famous wagon trail, eventually part of US Route 66 and the Santa Fe railway.
I noticed that Bactrian (2 hump) rather than dromedary(1 hump) camels were used. Historically, they were imported from Tunisia, therefore should have been dromedaries, which are the usual camel in North Africa and the Middle East. Bactrians are the usual camel in Central Asia and western China. Bactrians are notably larger and can carry or pull heavier loads, up to 1000 lbs., whereas the top limit for dromedaries is 600 lbs. and for horses and mules 300 lbs.. Although camels had various practical advantages over horses and mules in the dry rough parts of the Southwest, there was a general prejudice against substituting them for their familiar pack animals. Also, horses and mules were generally afraid of them.
Getting back to the story, the threesome of Clint, Lilly, and brother Jeb are being chased by a posse, after robbing a bank of gold. Jeb is badly wounded, but they manage to lose the posse. Lilly goes to town to find a doctor, and returns with a drunkard veterinarian who says he can't do anything for Jeb. Clint bargains with him to buy his clothes and medical bag,so that the vet. can return to the east, instead of joining the camel caravan, and Clint can impersonate him when he joins the caravan. Lilly remains behind with Jeb, who eventually dies. She then finds the caravan and is reluctantly accepted. Clint's ruse is finally discovered, and he banished from the caravan after a fist fight with Beale. But, he finds a water hole, which the caravan badly needs, and helps fight off the attacking Apache. Therefore, he's accepted back into the caravan, and gives his stolen gold to Beale to return to the bank he stole it from. Beale says he can't buy his freedom from prosecution, but he's earned it...an interesting perspective.
I thought Joanne was especially beautiful and charismatic. She was John Ireland's(Clint) wife at this time...Shot around Kanab, Utah. See it in color at YouTube or the expensive DVD release.
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