The mild entertainment of this movie is what gives westerns the reputation as an outdated genre that they have today. The fault here lies in everything from the screenplay to th ephotography, from the direction to the acting. Anonymous director Lesley Selander is certainly not John Ford. I’m sorry to say that Randalph Scott is no John Wayne either.
This is the story of a man still sore at the man who publicly whipped him years earlier and broke up his relationship with the love of his life, the daughter of the same man who had whipped him, who comes back to town to get his revenge. The story itself would have been okay, had we known more about the past than the present. This is the kind of movie that could have done with a little more in depth examinations on the events that started the man’s anger, to see whether he is right to be angry or not. There is another reason why such a thing would be necessary in this film; the ending goes against nature of the premise, and it offers a cheesy happy ending that seems almost completely out of place, and makes the rest of the movie that just passed very useless.
It doesn’t take a genius to see that the film lacks quality in many fields, but I found the acting to be quite appalling as well. I’m not a fan of Scott’s, his lines are never well delivered as he doesn’t seem to calibre him voice enough for the deliveries to have the right impact. The acting comes close to laughable in many scene where the characters are supposed to portray actual emotions. Lack of emotional depth is all well and good in some westerns, Clint Eastwood only needed two expressions to act as a cowboy according to the legendary Sergio Leone. It is not well and good when the westerns is supposed to be charged emotionally and relies on the actors to show their emotions themselves, as we don’t witness the event that started the main characters anger ourselves in the duration of the film.
There isn’t much else to talk about. This is one of the forgotten westerns anyways, just like many action movies are released nowadays and fade away with time, this one was destined from the beginning to remain a whisper in the wind. There is something interesting to point out. I recently saw Bad Boys by Michael Bay. That film was pretty awful too, and it dragged on just like this movie did (although this movie gave itself less precious time to drag on as opposed to Bad Boys). I read from Roger Ebert that he thought the only way to save a movie that drags on and becomes too dull is to have explosions or a car chase or both. This western had a land race. Some things never change.
WATCH FOR THE MOMENT – El Peso Kid looking at Reva in the mirror as she gets ready to spy on her boyfriend. One of the only times in the movie where real tension is built.