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Devil's Canyon

Devil's Canyon

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Devil’s Canyon, Ex-marshal Billy Reynolds, sent to state prison for killing two men in self defense, learns that killer Jessie Gorman, brother of the two men Billy shot, is in the same prison and vows revenge. Complicating matters further is the incarceration of Gorman’s girlfriend Abby who helps Gorman plan an escape while at the same time is unsuccessful hiding her feelings for Reynolds.

STARS: Virginia Mayo, Dale Robertson, Stephen McNally

92 min | Western | 1953 | Color


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Arizona’s official state nickname is . . .

Devil’s Canyon,. . . “The Outlaw State,” and DEVIL’S CANYON illustrates why this portion of rattlesnake country deserves that title. This film tells the inspiring tale of a Real Life prison uprising that took place in 1897 near Yuma. Abby, a penitentiary nurse\trustee serving a life sentence for staging a series of bank and train heists, orchestrates a smuggled shipment of two dozen revolvers into the jail’s medical clinic. During the ensuing chaos, 14 guards are shot dead and a score more gravely wounded as the entire prison population is freed from the cells, turning a Gatling gun and road construction dynamite against penitentiary personnel. Recognizing how plucky sharpshooter Abby epitomizes Arizona Territory’s motto (“We aim to slay”), the hostage warden grants her a full pardon on the spot. More than a century later, Arizonians still are exercising their inalienable 2nd Amendment Right to knock off their Congress person, as well as anyone in the vicinity.

Prison break movie in Western costume

Another grim Western from Werker, notable for the realism of ist depiction of life in the Arizona State Penitentiary at the turn of the century. McNally is the psychotic killer seeking revenge on Robertson, also imprisoned, while Mayo is the girl working in the prison dispensary to help McNally to escape, who switches sides at the last minute. In all essentials a prison-break movie in Western costume, it survives the imposition of 3-D thanks to Musuraca’s low-key lighting effects. – Furthermore, this is an opportunity to watch Arthur Hunnicutt in another of his marvellous sketches of very special and likable sidekicks.

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