Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Ride Lonesome

A few weeks back I recorded a night of Randolph Scott westerns since I hadn't blogged about any of them before and they're all on DVD. Second up is Ride Lonesome.

Scott plays Ben Brigade, who in the opening scene is approaching a man he's clearly been following for some time. That man is Billy John (James Best), and he's clearly a wanted criminal. Ben plans to bring him into town some distance away for the reward. That distance, however, is going to cause some problems. This isn't a courtroom drama, after all.

Some of those problems come into stark relief when Ben reaches the stagecoach station. The wife of the stationmaster, Mrs. Lane (Karen Steele), is there, but not her husband. Two other men show up, and they're both criminals: Sam (Pernell Roberts) and Whit (James Coburn). But for the time being they're going to be a lesser problem as everybody has to deal with an attack from the Indians who, as it turns out, also killed Mr. Lane.

Eventually they all set out for town, with the looming question of whether Sam and Whit will try to take Billy John themselves. There's an amnesty for whoever captures him, and the two could obviously use it. However, there's an even bigger problem in that Billy John's brother Frank (Lee Van Cleef) is in pursuit. Strangely to Sam and Whit, Ben seems to be taking his own sweet time in getting everybody to town. It's almost as if he wants Frank to catch up....

Ride Lonesome is solid entertainment. I didn't have any problem with it, other than the western not being my favorite genre. Reviewers who are western fans, however, generally praise the movie quite highly, and my comments are in no way a criticism of the movie. About the only criticism I could give is that it travels familiar territory: The Naked Spur and Along the Great Divide both came quickly to mind. If you want a familiar western, though, Ride Lonesome is a great place to start.

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