Two films this week based on Luke Short novels.
In this one, a pair of foster brothers, Owen Daybright(Burt Lancaster), and Lee Strobie(Robert Walker) are the central figures. Owen is foreman of the Strobie ranch and he and Lee were raised together by Lee’s father, Arch(Ray Collins), a man crippled now. Lee is rather a weak man and Owen, and his father , have always gotten him ut of trouble. Lee’s latest trouble is a young woman named Lili Faskin(Sally Forrest), the single mother of Lee’s child. She won’t tell anyone who the father is, but Owen, who gives her fivehundred dollars to help out.
The real trouble is Lili’s two brothers, Hub(John Ireland) and Dick(Hugh Obrien), who know Owen gave her the money and presume him to be the father. He;s either going to marry Lili or die.
Lee’s wife, Jen(Joanne Dru) knows about Lee’s affair and is planning to leave him. She only stays because of her love for Arch and respect for Owen.
A round-up is about to happen of all the ranches in the area. Because of a mountain in the middle, two herds are being gathered. Lee is in charge of the west division and Owen the east. The plan is for all ranchers to have their steers branded up, gathered into the two herds, and driven around the herds until they meet up, and then on to market.
Lee has a different plan. He’s managed to get Arch to make him half owner now(Owen gets Arch’s half after his death) and he sells the herd to a man wanting to stock his Montana ranch, planning to take the money and take off. The Faskin brothers are secretly hired by him for his half of the drive with the intention they will ambush and kill Owen.
Chris Danning(Randolph Scott) is a man on a mission. A stage had been attacked by Indians, all the male passengers killed, a woman and a large payroll taken. Neither had turned up. Chris has an old friend, an army scout, that finds a drunken Indian that tells him a strange story for a few dollars. The Indians had been led by a white man who’d taen the money and the woman. She’d killed herself with the man’s knife two days later.
The identification he gives is a big strong white man with yellow hair, blue eyes, and a big scar on his right cheek. No name is known.
It takes him eighteen months to find the man in a small town named Coroner Creek.
There he begins his campaign of harassment. He has no proof and Younger Miles(George MacReady) has become a powerful man in the interim. He owns the stage line and a ranch and is intent on getting more.
One aim is the ranch of a widow named Della Harms(Sally Eilers), who’s ranch stands between him and complete ownership. He’s married to Abbie(Barbara Reed), the daughter of aging Sheriff O’Hea(Edgar Buchanan), a man who’s grown complacent in his job and is blind to what hi son-in-law is really like. His daughter has taken to drink and has been befriended by hotel owner, Kate Hardison(Marguerite Chapman). She feels an attraction to Chris when he checks in and asks him if he will drive the passed out Abbie home. With revenge on his mind, it’s a perfect opportunity to look things over.
His plan is given a boost when offered the job of foreman of Della Harms. He quickly begins weeding out the lazy men and gets some serious work going as he pushes Younger Miles bit by bit until the final showdown.
A young Forrest Tucker plays Miles’s foreman and has several fights with Chris before it’s all over.
Enjoyed both these old films.