The Tall T (1957)

The Tall TWhile making a trip to buy a seed bull, cowboy Pat Brennan (Randolph Scott) loses a bet with his former employer and has to give up his horse.  Pat starts walking home and along the way, he’s passed by his friend Ed Rintoon (Arthur Hunnicutt), who is driving a stagecoach with newlyweds Doretta (Maureen O’Sullivan) and Willard Mims (John Hubbard) on board.  Ed offers to give Pat a lift, but when they arrive at a way station, a group of three men — Frank Usher (Richard Boone), Billy Jack (Skip Homeier), and Chink (Henry Silva) — holds them at gunpoint and tries to rob them.

Ed tries to reach for his gun, but is shot down.  Willard, who has only married Doretta for her money, tells the robbers that they could get more money by sending a ransom note to Doretta’s father than they could by robbing stagecoaches.  Frank writes a ransom note and sends Willard and Billy to deliver it while the others leave for the robbers’ camp.  Willard and Billy arrive at the camp the next day with news that Doretta’s father has agreed to pay a $50,000 ransom and Willard gets permission to leave camp, but is shot dead before he can get very far.

When Frank leaves to get the ransom from Doretta’s father, that leaves Billy and Chink to keep an eye on Pat and Doretta.  But luckily for Pat and Doretta, their captors are easily manipulated and Pat comes up with a plan to break free.

I quite enjoyed The Tall T.  Randolph Scott is fantastic in it and Budd Botticher’s direction is excellent.  It’s a fast paced story loaded with grit and suspense; there isn’t a single moment that left me looking at the clock wondering how much of the movie was left.  The Tall T is one of those westerns that makes it very easy for people who aren’t typically fans of westerns to enjoy it.  Definitely keep your eye out for this one on the TCM schedule.

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