Fundamentally a story about the violent conflict of interests between the cattlemen and newly arrived homesteaders. Abilene Town [based on a novel by Ernest Haycox] focuses interest on the evolution of this Kansas village from the familiar reckless cowboy town into a more peaceful community.
Abilene is located where the Chisholm Trail ends. It’s where cattle were placed on trains for the packing-house cities. This was the habit back in the early 1870s, with the plot pointing up that the business men, with stores there, felt that without this cattle business and the periodical visits of the cattlemen, after their 90-day drive from Texas, the town would die. Arrival of homesteaders proved how wrong they were.
Randolph Scott chips in with one of his best western characterizations as the marshal, a law officer who really whips the community into line. Ann Dvorak clicks as the dancehall entertainer, equally adept at warbling and stepping.
Lloyd Bridges does a solid bit of work as the vigorous youthful leader of the homesteaders. Rhonda Fleming is the nice gal, daughter of the town’s biggest storekeeper and political leader. At times, she’s excellent.