Westbound, Entertaining, fast-paced Western has Scott as an army officer contracted during the civil war to bring federal gold from California to the East (yes, this film might have been more appropriately named “Eastbound”). He meets resistance from an old rival and his gang of outlaws hired by the Confederacy to stop the shipments. About halfway through, the film takes a much darker path with the brigands’ murder of a stagecoach full of innocent passengers (including a little girl) and the juvenile male hero of the film (“one arm”).Surprisingly, Steele is given the juicier of the 2 female leads; Mayo is stuck in an underwritten part as Scott’s old flame and his rival’s wife.
Notable action scenes at Scott’s first arrival in town and the final shoot-out, which is done less in the balmy “High Noon” style and more in the old “shoot em up” style, crashing wagons and all. I particularly liked how director Boetticher used objects, such as the shot glass that is passed from the mercenary to the businessman, to convey relationships of power. A very exciting western picture.