Pursued is potent frontier days western film fare. Standout in picture is suspense generated by the original script and Raoul Walsh’s direction. It builds the western gunman’s death walk to high moments of thrill and action. Strong casting also is a decided factor in selling the action wares. Production makes use of natural outdoor backgrounds supplied by New Mexico scenery, lending air of authenticity that is fully captured by the camera.
There are psychological elements in the script, depicting the hate that drives through a man’s life and forces him into unwanted dangers. Robert Mitchum is the victim of that hate, made to kill and fear because of an old family feud. His role fits him naturally and he makes it entirely believable. Teresa Wright upholds the femme lead with another of her honestly valued, talented portrayals that register sincerity.
Plot motivation stems from feuding between the Callums and the Rands. Feud starts when Dean Jagger, a Callum, wipes out Mitchum’s family because a Callum girl dared love Mitchum’s father.
Among memorable moments is the stalking of Mitchum by the Callums as he spends his wedding night with a bride who also had just tried to kill him.