Story concerns an offbeat sort of gunman, a smalltown marshal with 12 killings to his credit. But now he is to be removed by a disgruntled city council. His efforts to remain in post end in a flashy finish.
Richard Widmark punches over title role and gives tone to the character who has always tried to run a clean town. Script from Lewis B. Patten’s novel builds suspense as the council plans his departure but doesn’t know how, other than to gun him down.
Widmark elicits certain sympathy for his actions in his hardboiled interpretation, and for co-star has Lena Horne, in role of a madam.
[Pic is first use on a feature film of official Directors Guild of America pseudonym ‘Allen Smithee’ for directors who want no credit. Don Siegel replaced Robert Totten, who was fired after 25 days.]