For our October gathering David Morrell brought LAST TRAIN FROM GUN HILL (1959). It’s a tension-filled tale about Marshal Matt Morgan (Kirk Douglas) out to arrest the two men who raped and killed a woman.
Set during the Mexican Revolution in 1911, the film opens with Irish Gallager (Van Heflin), an American, getting his gold mining operation jumped by Colonel Paco Ruiz (George Dolenz) and his Federal troops. A chase ensues and Irish gets away, with the surprise help of a band of guerrillas led by the very resourceful Raquel Noriega (Julie Adams). Irish wants his mine back, and Noriega wants revenge against the evil Colonel Ruiz.
For our July gathering, I chose THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES (1976), a favorite of mine.
JOSEY WALES begins as a revenge tale and becomes a story of redemption. After his family is murdered by Kansas jayhawkers early in the Civil War, Josey Wales joins up with Missouri bushwhackers. A man who lives by the feud, Wales refuses to surrender at the war’s end. With a price on his head, he heads west to put distance between himself and his pursuers including bloodthirsty Captain “Red Legs” Terrill (Bill McKinney) and Fletcher (John Vernon), the man Wales is certain betrayed him.
This silent film tells the epic tale of a New York engineer sent out West to tame the mighty Colorado River with the promise of bringing water to the California desert to turn it into a prosperous paradise, but avaricious motives are soon revealed. There’s also a love triangle with Willard Holmes (Ronald Coleman), the stodgy engineer, vying with rugged cowboy Abe Lee (Gary Cooper) for the affections of child of the desert, Barbara Worth (Vilma Banky).
More melodrama than drama, AT GUNPOINT features Fred MacMurray as Jack Wright, the owner of the general store in the town of Plainview, who’s never handled a gun before but his very lucky shot wounds a bank robber who’s then shot dead by a local rancher. The robber’s brother, Bob Dennis (Skip Homeier), vows cruel vengeance.