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.
A gang of claim jumpers is infesting the territory, gaining ownership of undermanned mining operations through extortion...and leaving no live witnesses. But one victim, quick-drawing gambler Luke Cromwell, escapes. Meanwhille, Marshal Lightnin' Tyrone is also after the gang; recovering from one raid, he meets femme fatale Opal Lacy, who may not be healthy for him to know. When Luke, now calling himself the Silver Kid, joins forces with Marshal Tyrone, the gang had better watch out ...unless something drives a wedge between the new allies.Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
Stephen McNally is a rugged hero, playing the marshal "Lightning" Tyrone. He goes up against a vicious gang of "claim jumpers" making life miserable for miners. He makes the acquaintance of a youth who's been dubbed "The Silver Kid", played by WWII hero Audie Murphy, and decides that he can put The Kid to use as his deputy.
Although pretty average in terms of story, this is still entertaining thanks to the assured direction of Don Siegel, in the years before he'd graduated to the ranks of major A list directors. He knew how to handle action scenes, for one thing, and "The Duel at Silver Creek" is reasonably rousing at times. Overall, the filmmaking is quite capable, with top notch location work and superb creation of the classic Western look (in glorious Technicolor). You will notice that Siegel and the screenwriters don't exactly bother to keep the identities of certain villains a secret. You're also left in little doubt as to how the predictable script will unfold, so the scenario isn't about suspense, despite the fact that good guy Lightning has been badly wounded and can't handle a gun as well as he used to.
There are very fine performances by a well chosen cast: McNally, a confident young Murphy, lovely ladies Faith Domergue and Susan Cabot, Gerald Mohr, Eugene Iglesias, James Anderson, Walter Sande, Lee Marvin, George Eldredge, Griff Barnett, Harry Harvey, etc.
It's worth noting that the run time is a mere 77 minutes. It's always nice when actors and filmmakers can tell their story in a succinct manner and not drag it out any longer than necessary.
Six out of 10.
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