In the turn-of-the century Texas town of Cottownwood Springs, marshal Frank Patch is an old-style lawman in a town determined to become modern. When he kills drunken Luke Mills in self-defense, the town leaders decide it’s time for a change. They ask for Patch’s resignation, but he refuses on the basis that the town on hiring him had promised him the job for as long as he wanted it. Afraid for the town’s future and even more afraid of the fact that Marshal Patch knows all the town’s dark secrets, the city fathers decide that old-style violence is the only way to rid themselves of the unwanted lawman.
A group of copper miners, Southern veterans, are terrorized by local rebel-haters, led by deputy Lane Travis. The miners ask stage sharpshooter Johnny Carter to help them, under the impression that he is the legendary Colonel Desmond. It seems they’re wrong; but Johnny’s show comes to Coppertown and Johnny romances lovely gambler Lisa Roselle, whom the miners believe is at the center of their troubles.
La resa dei conti / The Big Gundown (1966) Sergio Sollima, Lee Van Cleef, Tomas Milian, Walter Barnes, Western
Jonathan Corbett is a gunman so brave to have eliminated all the bandits of Texas. For this he is proposed for the candidacy to the Senate of the United States. In exchange he has only to support the construction of one railway line. Only after he accepts does he come to know that the Mexican Cuchillo has raped and killed a 12 year old girl. Corbett leaves on a long manhunt during which he gets to know his adversary better and discovers a variation on the crime for which the accused Cuchillo may not be as guilty as he first thought.
Up until its surisingly mundane finale, A Lawless Street is one of the best of the Randolph Scott westerns of the 1950s. Scott plays famed marshal Calem Ware, whose strenous activities on behalf of law and order have exacted a toll on his personal life. Keeping the peace in the town of Medicine Bend, Ware hopes to someday be reconciled with his ex-wife Tally Dickinson (Angela Lansbury), now a touring musical comedy star. Just as Tally arrives in Medicine Bend, Ware is forced to deal with big-time criminals Thorne (Warner Anderson) and Clark (John Emery), not to mention their hired gun Baskam (Michael Pate). Will he do his duty and rid the town of his outlaw element, or will he hang up his guns as Tally wants him to? One of the highlights of A Lawless Street is a lively saloon-hall number performed by Angela Lansbury, who is quite a dish in her revealing stage wardrobe.
Der letzte Ritt nach Santa Cruz / The Last Ride to Santa Cruz (1964) Rolf Olsen, Edmund Purdom, Mario Adorf, Marianne Koch, Western
Pedro Ortiz (Mario Adorf) is released from prison and returns soon to free a young man called Carlos (Thomas Fritsch). Together with Jose (Klaus Kinski) and Fernando (Sieghardt Rupp), they start a new gang for bank robbery and the usual things bandits do. They take Ortiz’ friend Juanita (Marisa Mell) and the servile piano player Woody (Walter Giller) with them. When former sheriff Kelly (Edmund Purdom) follows them, they take his wife Liz (Marianne Koch) and his young son for hostages.
Willie Duggans, a tenderfoot from the east, arrives in the wild west and soon experiences its violence. Willie discovers the easy money in bounty killing and must choose between that violent lifestyle and the love of a beautiful saloon singer.
Ex-confederate officer Clay Fletcher jumps at the chance to reunite with his once lady-friend, Susan Jeffers, when his father, Judge Fletcher, sends him on an errand to El Paso, Texas to get the signature of Susan’s father, Judge Jeffers, on a legal document. Once there he finds the judge has become a drunk and a laughing stock, doing the bidding of local magnate Bert Donner and his running dog, Sheriff La Farge. Just as Clay starts straightening out the town’s problems, events occur which force him to abandon the legal system and instead adopt the murderous tactics of a vigilante.
Half-Apache Pardon Chato (Charles Bronson) finds himself in a bar fight with a bigoted sheriff and kills the man to save his own life. The locals won’t accept this defense, though, and angry Civil War veteran Quincey Whitmore (Jack Palance) rounds up a gang of toughs to track down Chato, who is forced to flee the scene. But when the posse finds Chato’s family and brutalizes them, the escapee decides it’s time to stop running and start taking revenge on the lynch mob.
The New Land / Nybyggarna (1972) Jan Troell, Max von Sydow, Liv Ullmann, Eddie Axberg, Drama, Western
This film continues from where The Emigrants / Utvandrarna (1971) left off. Starting a new life in the New World from almost nothing is not easy. The winters and summers are more extreme than in the Old World. But the immigrants are rewarded for their hard work. They now live a better life than they did in Sweden. Bad times also come, however. The civil war starts and the Sioux Indians make a bloody uprising against the white settlers. Karl-Oskar’s family survives all these. His brother, Robert, decides to seek his fortune in the gold fields of California. He never reaches California but acquires some fortune from his boss who dies of yellow fever on the way to the gold fields. An immigrant Swede dupes him of this fortune. Robert returns to his brother where he dies from a disease contracted on the trip. Kristina, whose thoughts never leave Sweden, has several more births and gets pregnant again against the advice of her doctor. This last pregnancy kills her. The children grow up and take over the farm. Karl-Oskar becomes old and lonely. He spends his last days dreaming of his youth in the Old World.
Broken Arrow (1950) Delmer Daves, James Stewart, Jeff Chandler, Debra Paget, Drama, Romance, Western
For a decade, the white settlers and the Apaches have been engaged in a bloody war with no peaceful end in sight. When a white scout, Tom Jeffords (James Stewart), has a dangerously close but enlightening encounter with the natives, he begins to see the humanity in these “enemies.” Entering the Apache territory seeking peace, Jeffords forms a friendship with the Apache leader Cochise (Jeff Chandler), although there are people on both sides who resist extending the olive branch.