Hangman’s Knot, In 1865, a troop of Confederate soldiers led by Major Matt Stewart attack the wagon of gold escorted by Union cavalry and the soldiers are killed. The only wounded survivor tells that the war ended one month ago, and the group decides to take the gold and meet their liaison that knew that the war ended but did not inform the troop. The harsh Rolph Bainter kills the greedy man and the soldiers flee in his wagon driven by Major Stewart. When they meet a posse chasing them, Stewart gives wrong information to misguide the group; however, they have an accident with the wagon and lose the horses. They decide to stop a stagecoach and force the driver to transport them, but the posse returns and they are trapped in the station with the passenger. They realize that the men are not deputies and have no intention to bring them to justice but take the stolen gold.
Competent Scott Western
Hangman’s Knot, Some of Randolph Scott’s Westerns are shown regularly on British TV, but I hadn’t seen this one before, and it lived up to my expectations. The colour was good, the cast strong and the plot better than for most Westerns of this period. Lee Marvin was strong in an early role, and Claud Jarman jnr was also good (I wonder why his film career seemed to peter out?) I suppose a pedant might nitpick at the Union cavalrymen’s uniforms appearing to be standard wardrobe issue, rather than the sort one might expect to see Civil War men wear. As a heavy, Guinn Williams was cast contrary to his usually semi-comic type, but over the years he hadn’t lost his curious way of firing a revolver – almost as if he were tossing bullets out of its muzzle with a flick of his wrist.
The jarring note was the obligatory romance for Westerns of this period, this time between 54-year-old Scott (in the beginning of the film at least almost looking his age) and 32-year-old Donna Reed (as delightful as ever).