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Howard Kemp has been tracking killer Ben Vandergroat for a long time. In the Colorado Rockies, he teams up with prospector Jesse Tate and former Union soldier Roy Anderson. Thinking Kemp is a sheriff, they agree to help for a small fee. When they catch...
A rapist; a manipulator; an indifferent, bossy old man; and a mostly nice guy, what a rough spot for a lady.
the ending bugged me a bit but overall great western.
I didn't expect a 1950s western to be as dark and dirty as The Naked Spur is, but it's essentially The Treasure of the Sierra Madre with the gold mine replaced with a wanted man. Jimmy Stewart's bounty hunter is a broken and anguished man who's lost his way trying to reclaim his life, ostensibly by getting the bounty on Robert Ryan's manipulative outlaw. Things get complicated early on when Stewart needs help from an old prospector (Millard Mitchell), and even more complicated when a dishonorably discharged soldier (Ralph Meeker) shows up and lends a hand, hoping for a piece of the pie. Oh, and then there's Janet Leigh as a woman who believes the outlaw is innocent. And that's it. No other actors have lines, even the most modest human settlement is absent. In the Wilderness, Man is allowed to revert to his bestial nature. This very compact five-hander provides plenty of conflict, and opportunities for Ryan to exploit. In the end, I wish Leigh's character were a little more than a symbol, but everything she does is for one man or another, and the engine for a moral twist that fits a fable better than the grotty realism built up to that point.
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Currently in 8 official lists, but has been in 11