Speaks his mind on music & movies!
We see a man riding on a mountain trail leading a pack horse. A trunk on the pack horse has a name, Joseph Frail M.D. He rides into a mining camp and sets up shop. It’s not long before he saves a young man from hanging and puts the boy to work under the threat of exposing him for the crime he commited if he doesn’t. The mining camp is thrown together fast with everyone knowing each other from other gold camps. Doc Frail is also one of the people following the gold. He has some kind of past which has everyone cutting a wide swath around him. He’s not to be messed with. He might be a doctor but he has a violent side. Frail nurses a women back to health and secretly becomes her benefactor so she can work a claim. She hooks up with a couple partners with one of them having other ideas than gold on his mind. He wants a piece of Eva and that is not going to sit well with Joe Frail. We witness this play out.
This is another film that CB’s old-man turned him onto. It’s a good one. Shot beautifully on location with Ted D. McCord catching it with his camera. Delmer Daves directs and does a really good job. He keeps the story focused without over telling it. He leaves a lot unsaid which works. It’s based on a story by Dorothy M. Johnson.
Really strong cast. George C. Scott, John Dierkes (Shane fame), Karl Malden (Where did you get that hat Karl?) does his usual good work (Have I said that before?). Maria Schell as Eva completely nails the role. Her performance is strong and real. Loved her work. Great casting. One of my favorite female characters. Gary Cooper in the lead role is outstanding. Back in the day when stars were worried about image, Cooper throws that away and plays a cold, hard, mean, short tempered, hurt and caring (and a few more things) man. He has a real nasty side which comes across real clear. I loved Cooper in this one. A man of few words but it’s perfect. You can feel his past weighing him down. No hippocratic oath for Coop or he forgot some of it.
Something moved me about this film. It made an impression. The film is simply told and beautifully shot. Loved the setting, the work on both sides of the camera and I love this genre. It’s pretty violent. The ending is perfect.
Have a listen to Marty Robbins singing the title tune in the clip below. The song pretty well sets up the film. Oh yeah the tree they use is one scary looking plant.
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