While tracking murderer Ben Vandergroat in the Rocky Mountains, bounty hunter Howard Kemp takes on help from two men he’s just met on the trail. But when the two strangers find out about the big reward on Vandergroat’s head, they stick to Howard and his prisoner like glue. The trip to Abilene, Kansas to collect the bounty proves to be a rocky road. Howard is injured during a gun fight with Native Americans, while Vandergroat works to drive a wedge between his captors, which proves to be an easy task, since Howard and the younger of his helpers are rivals for the affections of the prisoner’s companion, Lina … The intimate psychological drama played out under the open skies is a brutal exposé of human nature. As realistically as it portrays the fears and conceits, the avarice and will to survive of the protagonists, it is equally clear in its unemotional recording of the natural colours of the surroundings. The players, clothed in dark, muted colours are barely distinguishable from the landscape. And when there is a confrontation in a cave, the actors blend almost completely into the backdrop.
by Anthony Mann
with James Stewart, Janet Leigh, Robert Ryan
USA 1953 92’