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With: Randolph Scott, John Carroll, Karen Steele, Valerie French, Noah Beery Jr., John Archer, Andrew Duggan, James Westerfield, John Litel, Ray Teal, Vaughn Taylor, Richard Deacon, H.M. Wynant
Written by: Charles Lang, based on a story by Vernon L. Fluharty
Directed by: Budd Boetticher
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 77
Date: 10/11/1957

Decision at Sundown (1957)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Small Town

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Buy Decision at Sundown on DVD

Decision at Sundown seems like an attempt to make a political statement, as was popular in some Westerns of the period (High Noon, Shane, 3:10 to Yuma, etc.). However, director Budd Boetticher's even, brisk touch cuts right through the preachiness, at least for the first hour or so. It works well enough to get you riled up. Bart Allison (Randolph Scott) rides into Sundown with the goal of killing Tate Kimbrough (John Carroll), who had something to do with the loss of his wife. Scott is angrier and more emotional here, and with a comic relief partner (Noah Beery Jr.); they both end up hiding in a stable while the bad guys contemplate their next move. Meanwhile, a doctor (John Archer) decides that he liked Sundown better before Tate arrived in it and took over everything. Boetticher's sometime girlfriend Karen Steele appears, but her role is far less interesting than the one she would play in Ride Lonesome. All in all though, this is a powerful effort. Charles Lang wrote the screenplay.

See also The Films of Budd Boetticher.

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