Horizons West, Home from the Civil War, young Neal Hammond is happy to return to Texas ranching, but brother Dan wants more. His attempt to enter business is thwarted when carpetbagger Cord Hardin beats and humiliates him in a poker game. So Dan forms a rustling gang and parlays his ill-gotten gains into a land empire. But among the growing opposition to his gang is the new Marshal of Austin…brother Neal.
You are leaving Texas at your own peril. You are about to enter Zona Libre.
Horizons West, is directed by Budd Boetticher with a story written by Louis Stevens. It stars Robert Ryan, Rock Hudson, Julia Adams, John McIntire, Raymond Burr & Dennis Weaver. It’s a Technicolor production with Charles P. Boyle on photography.
It’s the end of the Civil War and the Hammond brothers Neal (Hudson) and Dan (Ryan) return to the family ranch in Texas. Neal is happy to graft away on the ranch but Dan wants considerably more. But Dan’s plans are altered after an encounter with Cord Hardin (Burr), an encounter that sees Dan switch to the wrong side of the law. A switch that drives a wedge thru the Hammond family, particularly since Neal has decided to don a badge and become a Marshal of Austin.
Interesting and watchable early Western effort from Budd Boetticher. It has some psychological aspects that mark it out as being above average. Themes of greed and family strife are of course nothing new in the grand scheme of the Western movie, but Boetticher and his cast knit them together here with some conviction, notably Ryan who was in the middle of a great run of movies that included On Dangerous Ground, Beware, My Lovely and The Naked Spur. There’s no real complexities to the characters, but they are well formed, and the finale has the courage of its convictions. There’s also some very neat period costuming from Rosemary Odell, with the quite ravishing Adams benefiting greatly there. The main problematic issues outside of some narrative familiarity come with being asked to believe that Ryan and Hudson (whose limp) are brothers, and that McIntire is Ryan’s father (there’s only two years between them in reality). Whilst there’s sadly a lack of impacting outdoor photography; even if that’s off set a touch by the easy on the eye set designs for the town by Russell A. Gausman & Joseph Kish.
A more than adequate time filler for the discerning Western fan.