|SANTA FE PASSAGE (director: William Witney; screenwriter: Lillie Hayward/based on the Esquire Magazine story by Clay Fisher; cinematographer: Bud Thackery; editor: Tony Martinelli; music: R. Dale Butts; cast: John Payne (Kirby Randolph), Faith Domergue (Aurelie St. Clair), Rod Cameron (Jess Griswold), Slim Pickens (Sam Beekman), Anthony Caruso (Chavez), Irene Tedrow (Ptewaquin), Leo Gordon (Tuss McLawery), George Krymas (Satank); Runtime: 91; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Sidney Picker; Republic; 1955)|
by Dennis Schwartz
veteran William Witney' ("The
Trigger Trio"/"S.O.S. Coast Guard"/"Zorro
Rides Again") last Western he directed
for Republic is only an average oater. It's based
on the Esquire
Magazine story by Clay Fisher, and is
written by Lillie Hayward.
Payne and Slim Pickens are ostracized wagon scouts for
supposedly conspiring with the fierce Satang (George
Krymas), the Kiowa chief. The town falsely believes
both scouts took bribes from Satang, and allowed the
Kiowa to attack the wagon train and massacre all the
passengers. Therefor both are unable to work in town.
In the next town Jess Griswold (Rod Cameron)
is the new owner of an express freight outfit, who
gives them both a second chance by hiring them to take
his wagon train to Santa Fe.
is a vocal Indian hater. On the Santa Fe Trail, Payne
is taunted for the massacre by the wagon boss Leo
Gordon, and the angered Payne responds by slugging the
half-breed. Payne curiously finds Ptewaquin
(Irene Tedrow), an old Indian
woman, driving the wagon of Faith
Domergue from New Orleans. He soon
learns that Griswold is to
transport rifles to sell to the Mexican army. Payne
now fears Satank will try and stop them. When the herd
stampedes, Payne saves Faith when her dress catches
fire. She then confides to him she wants the money to
get respect, because she was raised by a failure of a
father who was ostracized by the locals. She fails to
tell the racist her mother was a squaw.
double-cross over the rifle deal is sniffed out
by Griswold, Satank and the
traitor are ruthlessly dealt with. Payne then kisses
Faith hotly. But when told by Griswold
his woman is a half-breed, he angrily dumps her.
After more attacks, more heroics and learning that
Faith's mother is Ptewaquin,
the Indian hater overcomes his prejudice and marries
the hottie Indian in Mexico.
a bit confused about what the confusing film was
trying to say about all this hatred for Indians and
its abrupt ending, whereby its most racist character
REVIEWED ON 1/31/2016 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ