“I need a strong man to carry out my orders.”
A lawman (Barry Sullivan) and his brothers (Gene Barry and Robert Dix) attempt to arrest the reckless brother (John Ericson) of a whip-wielding rancher (Barbara Stanwyck), who relies on 40 hired hands and a lackey sheriff (Dean Jagger) to help keep order in her territory — but when Sullivan and Stanwyck fall in love, and Barry becomes deeply enamored with the daughter (Eve Brent) of a local gunsmith, the situation quickly gets even more complicated.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Barbara Stanwyck Films
- Dean Jagger Films
- Samuel Fuller Films
- Strong Females
Writer-director Samuel Fuller makes excellent use of CinemaScope in this action-packed western, featuring 49-year-old Stanwyck in a prototypical “strong female” role. The storyline is fairly standard western fare — fitting within the sub-genre of a “marshal story”, in which “the lawman and his challenges drive the plot” — but handled with Fuller’s typically quirky eye for composition, some unusual pacing choices, and strikingly bawdy language (“I’d like to stay around long enough to clean her rifle!”). Memorable scenes include a dead body placed upright in a coffin for all to view through a window (as a sign of impending revenge); Stanwyck and Barry caught in a tornado; a graphic minor death (complete with a foaming mouth); and Stanwyck doing one of her own dangerous stunts as she’s dragged on the ground by a horse.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Fine CinemaScope cinematography
No, though it’s worth a one-time look. Listed as a Cult Movie in the back of Peary’s book.