Release year: 1953
Director: Ray Nazarro
Screenwriter: Daniel B. Ullman (adapted from his play)
Starring: Sterling Hayden, Eve Miller, Barton MacLane, Harry Shannon, Tom Fadden, Reed Hadley, Douglas Fowley, Robert Keys, Irving Bacon
It is just before the Civil War and the threat of a war makes finishing the railroad crossing Kansas to the frontier of high priority to the army. As Southern saboteurs keep preventing the men to do their work, army captain Nelson (Hayden) is sent to the rescue in guise of an engineer.
One of the most noticeable thing about this straight-forward western drama is that it deals with the Civil War problematic but before the war even started, showing how the war built up over time. The story is simple, but when a good story is acted by good actors, it doesn’t really need to be anything but simple and the short running time doesn’t leave room for much flesh. But an excellent Hayden (The Asphalt Jungle, 1950) still manage to give the impression of his character being righteous, intelligent and smart while both MacLane (The Maltese Falcon, 1941) and Shannon (High Noon, 1952) makes loyal and strong characters to fall for instantly. Mille (April in Paris, 1952) get nothing more to do than look pretty but does so good and with heart. The action sequences work really well and the great work done with characters by the actors makes sure you are gripped and care for the outcome of every tense scene. It is a nice western drama for any fan of the genre and for those enjoying movies about the Civil War, it gives a rare insight into the built up.
The rights to the film is currently in public domain.
The movie was filmed at the Iverson Movie Ranch and the Sierra Railroad in what is now Railtown 1897 State Historic Park, Jamestown, California.
One of the henchmen is played by Clayton Moore who is best known for playing The Lone Ranger on TV.
If you feel like watching this public domain movie in a decent version, you can do so by clicking the image below: