Showing posts from November, 2014

The Last Wagon (1956)

Dir: Delmer Daves - Cast: Richard Widmark, Felicia Farr, Susan Kohner, Tommy Rettig, Stephanie Griffin, George Mathews, Carl Benton Reid, James Dury 

In the opening scene we watch Richard Widmark killing an opponent in cold blood; he first shoots the man off his horse, then finishes him off, mercilessly. In the next few minutes Widmark kills two others, again without mercy, before he’s finally overpowered by a fourth person, a man wearing a sheriff’s star. It’s quite a remarkable opening, deliberately creating doubts about who is good and who is bad. Things get even more complicated: the sheriff ties the captured Widmark to a tree and starts torturing him, both mentally and physically. When the people of a wagon train show up, the sheriff asks them if he and his prisoner may join them on their way to Tucson; the request is granted, but the sheriff’s cruel behavior soon causes feelings of distress among the people of the wagon train and a young boy and his big sister start sympathizing…