Dan Ballard, a respected citizen in the western town of Silver Lode, has his wedding interrupted by four men led by Ned McCarthy, an old acquaintance who, as a US Marshal, arrests Ballard for the murder of his brother and the theft of $20,000.
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Veteran director Dwan's terrific little western plays out in real time and would make a fascinating double bill with High Noon. A rather bland Payne in the lead role faces a race against time to prove his innocence when his wedding is interrupted by a posse led by a duplicitous Duryea, one of the great western villains. The film was made at the height of McCarthyism and is a scathing attack on the era's witch-hunts..
Much-lauded allegory of the Red Scare witch hunts, its tight construction owing in equal parts to directorial sense and classic Hollywood unfussiness. But the real star is Dan Duryea, utterly compelling as the tireless force of vengeance after the all-American good guy; but wouldn't a really, really good film hint that bad guys can be all-American too?