Tall Man Riding, Scott plays Larry Madden, a man who left the town of Little River after being whipped by local landowner Tucker Ordway… now he wants revenge! He isn’t the only one who wants to destroy Ordway; Cibo Pearlo, owner of the town’s saloon wants him dead too. One might think that Madden and Pearlo would join forces but they dislike each other as much as they dislike Ordway! Madden wants to kill Ordway in a fair fight but as Ordway has a reputation as the fastest gun around he has a second plan so that even if he is dead he’ll get his revenge… he sent a lawyer to Washington to ascertain the legality of Ordway’s land claim and has discovered it is not legal. As with most westerns there are romantic possibilities; here the question is will Madden end up with Cibo’s girl Rivo or Ordway’s daughter Corinna, who he was involved with before.
This B-western is packed with action including several shootouts, brawls, the ambushing of a stagecoach and a spectacular scene where people rushed to claim Ordway’s land. These scenes were all impressively filmed and looked believable despite nobody bleeding when shot! Scott did a fine job in the lead role and supporting actresses Dorothy Malone and Peggy Castle were suitably spirited as Corinna and Rivo. Being a story about revenge I thought I’d know how it would end early on but due to an interesting twist that cliché was avoided.
Randolph Scott may have been getting on a bit when he made many of his westerns but he still had it in him to look believable as a tough guy; in fact here it works to his advantage as he is out for revenge for something that happened five years previously… something that wouldn’t have been believable if he’d been in his early twenties! It does however mean he is a bit too old to be involved with the films two romantic possibilities as he is old enough to be their fathers.
Overall this is a great little film; if you are a fan of the western genre it is well worth watching; I’m surprised it isn’t better known.