Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Overlooked Movies: Fort Dobbs (1958)



I was surprised to come across a Clint Walker Western I hadn’t seen before, since he’s been a favorite of mine for many years. I was a big fan of his TV show CHEYENNE when I was a kid, and I remember watching YELLOWSTONE KELLY and other movies starring him at the Eagle Drive-In. FORT DOBBS was the first film in which he starred, and you could almost imagine it as being a longer episode of CHEYENNE.

Instead of Cheyenne Bodie, though, Walker plays Gar Davis, who finds himself on the run from the law after killing a no-good hombre who had it coming. Caught between a posse and a Comanche war party, he finds himself on an isolated ranch inhabited by a woman (the gorgeous but somewhat miscast Virginia Mayo) and her young son. With the Comanches raiding, he decides he needs to get the two of them to the safety of Fort Dobbs, several days’ journey away. They set out but run into trouble not only from the Indians but also a gun-runner (played with smirky charm by Brian Keith), who knows Walker’s character from before. Reaching the fort doesn’t mean they’re out of the woods, though, because there’s more trouble waiting for them there.

FORT DOBBS has plenty of action and is well directed by Gordon Douglas, who always had a sure hand with such tough-minded fare. The script was co-written by Burt Kennedy, and that’s easy to see because Keith’s roguish, charming, but ultimately evil character is right out of the Budd Boetticher-directed Randolph Scott Westerns that Kennedy also wrote. With those things going for it, plus Walker’s formidable presence, it’s no surprise that I found this to be a very entertaining movie. If you’re a Western fan and haven’t seen it, it’s worth seeking out.

5 comments:

Neil Waring said...

We keep this one on our DVR, my wife's favorite western. Great every time

Peter Brandvold said...

Love that one. It's coming to TCM this month. Going to catch it again.

Walker Martin said...

This is a fine western and even Brian Garfield likes it a lot and gives it a big review in his book, WESTERN FILMS. I'll have to catch it on TCM also. They usually don't show that many westerns.

Edwin McBride said...

I caught this one for the first time on Grit TV recently. Terrific movie.

Walker Martin said...

According to Turner Classic Movies(TCM), this film will be shown March 22, Friday, at 9:30 am. There are other westerns scheduled that day also.