Max Brand’s familiar western hero rides for the third time around under the Universal banner. The soft-spoken, gunless lawman was played by Tom Mix in 1932, and by James Stewart in 1939. This time, Audie Murphy tackles the role, and probably better fits the original Brand conception than his predecessors.
George Marshall, repeating the directorial chore he handled on the 1939 version, runs the deftly plotted script off without a lag. There’s humor, hard drama, suspense, romance and sex, the latter more for the grownup than the juvenile oater fan.
Starring with Murphy as the saloon singer-bad girl is Mari Blanchard, the same character done to a turn in 1939 by Marlene Dietrich. Blanchard doesn’t have to take a back seat in the s.a. department and gives the role a zingy characterization that is most effective.
Murphy does exceptionally well as the quiet hero who is called in to aid Thomas Mitchell, town drunk appointed sheriff in a sardonic joke and restore law and order to the western town ruled with ruthless hand by Lyle Bettger and Edgar Buchanan.