McCrea plays the outlaw with a price on his head that escapes from prison and vows to go straight. Unfortunately, his path leads him to his old partner, and his new gang, who convinces him to try one last railroad heist to set him up for life. Shortly after his escape, McCrea’s character had met another man and his attractive daughter who were heading west also, when he saves them from a stagecoach robbery. Hull’s character was trying to get his daughter away from an impossible relationship while hoping to find success farming the barren landscape. McCrea’s character is attracted to her, and hopes to return to his farming roots (and her) after his last score.
Mayo plays Colorado Carson, a tough, attractive young woman from a harsh upbringing that finds herself among the gang. McCrea’s character initially insists that Colorado will lead to nothing but trouble before he decides to protect her from the others. Wolfe plays the railroad employee who’s the gang’s inside track to the heist; he double crosses them by telling the Marshal of their plans, for the reward money on McCrea. Frank Puglia plays Brother Tomas, a monk (?) who happens to be in the deserted town that the gang calls their hideout. —Classicfilmguide.com
Raoul Walsh’s 52-year directorial career made him a Hollywood legend, and the slam-band nature of his best films means that he is still remembered while the memory of Allan Dwan, a director with an equally long career, has practically faded from public consciousness. Walsh was also an actor: He appeared in the first version of W. Somerset Maugham’s Rain renamed Sadie Thompson (1928) opposite Gloria Swanson in the title role. He would have played the Cisco Kid in his own film In Old Arizona (1928) if an errant jackrabbit hadn’t cost him his right eye by leaping through the windshield of his automobile. Warner Baxter filled the role and won an Oscar. Before John Ford and Nicholas Ray, it was Raoul Walsh who made the eye-patch almost as synonymous with a Hollywood director as Cecil B. DeMille’s jodhpurs.
He interned with the best, serving as assistant director and editor on D.W. Griffith’s racist masterpiece, The Clansman, better known as read more
God, Raoul Walsh. This is my kind of western. Wasted lives. Chances lost. No way out. Suicide lovers. What glorious nihilism.
How noir, Hamlet black: doomed, idiot planets amid the most scorching of stars; a man and a woman can escape toward goodness only into blackness. "A couple of fools in a dead village dreaming about something that will never happen." Herr Fassbinder must have carried a prayer for this film.