Outstanding little movie, Texas, 1869, a powder keg waiting to explode.
It’s 1869, and Texas is still not part of the Union. Carpetbaggers rule the state and criminal activity is high. Captain Porter (Scott), a proud Texan himself, finds he has to carry out orders against his own countrymen. When a man in town is murdered in cold blood, suspicion falls on rogue cowboy Ben Westman (McGraw), but Porter believes he’s innocent and strikes a deal to bring him in for a fair trial. However, this sets off a chain of events that leads to Porter himself becoming a wanted man.Knowing direction, fine acting and a darn good script, all make Thunder Over The Plains essential viewing for the 50s Western fan. The bonus, aside from the impressive support cast, is the story itself. This was a troubled time, a time when only two states were not yet accepted back into the Union post the Civil War. Toth and Hughes paint a murky town, one of corruption, tax oppression and shifty shenanigans. There’s even room in the story for strains on the family home of Porter and an attempt at adultery. Throw in the nice colour and scenery, pace it briskly with enjoyable action set-pieces (the shoot out at the end is familiar but excellently done), and it’s a fictionalised winner.