|ARIZONA BUSHWHACKERS (director: Lesley Selander; screenwriters: Steve Fisher/story by Fisher & Andrew Craddock; cinematographer: Les Shorr; editor: John Schreyer; music: Jimmie Haskell; cast: Howard Keel (Lee Travis), Yvonne De Carlo (Jill), John Ireland (Dan Shelby), Marilyn Maxwell (Molly), Scott Brady (Tom Rile), Brian Donlevy (Mayor Smith), James Craig (Ike Clanton), Regis Parton (Curly), Eric Cody (bushwhacker), Barton MacLane (Sheriff Grover), Roy Rogers Jr. (Roy), (James Cagney (Narrator); Runtime: 86; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: A. C. Lyles; Paramount; 1968)|
|"A celebrated but has-been cast
is stuck with a bad narrative."
by Dennis Schwartz
western directed with efficiency by Lesley Selander
("Lone Ranger"/"Shotgun"/"Desert Sands"). This
was Selander's swan song in films. A celebrated but
has-been cast is stuck with a bad narrative by Steve
Fisher. It's based on the story by Fisher and Andrew
1865, Lee Travis (Howard Keel), a Confederate POW, is
pardoned when he agrees to work on behalf of the
Union in enforcing the law. Lee is made sheriff of
the lawless frontier town of Colton, Arizona,
taking over from the ineffective corrupt sheriff
Grover (Barton MacLane). The mayor (Brian
Donlevy) wanted the change to get law and order.
town is run by saloon owner Tom Rile (Scott Brady). He
sends three henchmen to bushwhack the new sheriff as
he enters town. But Travis, a former Mississippi
riverboat gambler and gunfighter, foils their plans
and the three are killed in gunfights.
is also a Reb spy and makes contact with the millinery
shop owner Jill (Yvonne De Carlo), who
tells him that he must deliver stored arms in town to
a supply-needy nearby band of Confederate soldiers.
one-armed deputy is Dan Shelby (John Ireland), an
embittered Union soldier wounded in the war. Dan
obsesses over Jill and hates Travis for being a Reb
and attracting Jill.
takes over Rile's saloon when he beats him in dice,
and then closes the joint and throws him out of town.
Molly (Marilyn Maxwell), the bar girl, tells the
sheriff that Rile is selling weapons to renegade
Apaches. It ends with an Indian raid on Colton foiled
and the war declared over.
Cagney gives an opening narration. Roy's son, Roy
Rogers Jr., makes his only film appearance.
The cheaply made B western is forgettable, but the star-studded cast should catch the interest of some viewers.
REVIEWED ON 5/12/2016 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ