Welcome to Hard Times is more than an oater title; it is a pretty fair evaluation of this production. Burt Kennedy’s direction is as inept as his script, an adaptation of E.L. Doctorow’s novel about sadistic tough Aldo Ray who burns down a western town. Cowardly (or is he?) mayor Henry Fonda inspires town to rebuild.
Janice Rule is unsatisfactory as the woman who taunts Fonda for a whole year, then cues a bloody climax. She plays it with an Irish accent, effect being a sort of Method school version of Maureen O’Hara.
Keenan Wynn, with wife Janis Paige and three saloon babes, offer some low comedy relief. Edgar Buchanan comes off best as a territorial officer. Presence of many pro names – Lon Chaney, Elisha Cook, Paul Fix, etc – only serves to emphasize the lack of depth and perception in script and direction.