In this Old West tale of vigilante justice, a cardsharp caught cheating is hanged by enraged players, despite the objections of gambler Van Morgan (Dean Martin). But paranoia soon grips the town as members of the lynch mob meet a vengeful end one by one. As word spreads about the murders, Morgan returns to town to face what might be his own death if he can’t rout out the killer. Robert Mitchum also stars in Henry Hathaway’s Western whodunit.
The archetypal studio professional, Hathaway began working in films before the industry had settled in Hollywood. During his 40-year career he directed over 60 features (including Paramount’s first Technicolor picture, “The Trail of the Lonesome Pine” 1936), became a pioneer of location shooting, and developed a reputation as a technically accomplished, reliable entertainer. He later bemoaned the familiar and unjust tag of “genial hack” which he had earned, he said, because of his reluctance to indulge in personal promotion. Certainly, though, the director of such fine and craftsmanlike action films like “The Lives of a Bengal Lancer” (1935), “Souls at Sea” (1937) and “Spawn of the North” (1938), as well as the atypical but hauntingly surreal love story “Peter Ibbetson” (1935), deserves more critical respect.
Hathaway began his career in San Diego, as a child actor in one-reelers directed by Allan Dwan, before moving to Hollywood with his actress mother. Both worked for T.H… read more