Fugitive bank robber Joe Maybe steals the identity of a marshal and rides into a town whose judge asks Joe to act as town marshal but an old flame almost betrays his real identity forcing Joe to claim she's his wife.
Ring Hassard and father Jeff, wild horse breakers, live in a hidden mountain eyrie because Jeff is wanted for a murder he didn't commit. But things change when they take in a lost young lady, Riley Martin, who finds that Ring has "never seen a woman close up." Jeff is injured, Ring runs afoul of horse thieves and the law, and Riley (who turns out to be a lawyer) labors to clear the Hassards; but others would prefer them dead.Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
It will be like bedding down in a nest of rattlers!
Sierra is directed by Alfred E. Green and adapted to screenplay by Edna Anhalt from the novel "Mountains Are My Kingdom" written by Stuart Hardy. It stars Audie Murphy, Wanda Hendrix, Burl Ives, Dean Jagger and Richard Rober. Music is by Walter Scharf and the Technicolor cinematography is by Russell Metty.
1950 is right at the beginning of Audie Murphy's film career and it's a big indicator of where his genre staples were laid. Of the three Westerns he made in 1950, Sierra is the weakest, but even then it's above average and shows enough of why Murphy was such an engaging star to his fans.
Plot has Murphy and Jagger as a Son and Father living in the mountains due to Pops being on the run from the law. They survive by trapping and breaking wild horses and then use Burl Ives' prospecting troubadour type as an intermediate salesman. One day a lost lawyer from town in the form of Hendrix gets involved in the lives of the mountain duo, where a series of events then lead to Murphy having to go into town and from there things become dangerously interesting for all involved.
The location photography is outstanding, with Metty bringing visual joys from Cedar City and Cedar Breaks in Utah. The costuming (Yvonne Wood) is top draw, and how nice to see Ives in a jolly role where he warbles and strums at various junctures in the play. Murphy and Hendrix have the chemistry, even though their ill fated marriage would end this same year, and the legal axis of the narrative (intriguing court sequences with Hendrix as the defence) adds some thought into proceedings.
Unfortunately for action junkies this is not the one for you, there's some nifty horse play and stampedes, and of course some macho posturing in sync, but it's with the smart story (greenhorn young man meets city life for the first time/lady lawyer trying to make it in the male dominated West) where the pic gets its strength. In the support slots you find Tony Curtis (billed as Anthony) and James Arness, who add a bit of colour to an already lively frontline cast. 6/10
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