August 4, 2008
1948 film starts with a rare Steve V.0.:
“There’s an old saying in the West that there’s no such thing as a good man with a bad aim. They’re buried, I guess, before they ever get another chance to improve their shooting. I was on my way to see a bad man who was a good shot. Those kind get buried too. But that particular morning, I didn’t have the faintest idea I was going to be the reason for burying the Sheriff.”
Steve Norris is a rancher who gets framed for the murder of the crooked Sheriff. Decker (Hugh Prosser) is the bad guy who runs the town. He forces Steve to sign a confession and makes him the new Sheriff. Now Steve is his reluctant enforcer.
We’ve seen Charley play angry, playful, mean, heroic — but never glum. He walks around in this movie in a haze, unliked and unhappy about what he’s being forced to do. I bet, as an actor, he drew on his feelings when he had to laugh at Smiley’s antics.
Steve learns that Decker’s gang is going to rob the bank, so the Durango Kid beats them to it. For once, a real need for the double identity — Steve is compromised, Durango is free to act.
Smiley is the local “fotographer” and doesn’t know Steve or the Durango Kid. He tries to make friends with Steve by taking his picture.
Decker has hidden a gun inside and rigged the camera to shoot Steve dead when Smiley snaps the picture. It misses. Steve is pissed. “From now on, we play with the cards face up!”
There’s a trick and an overheard confession by the bad guys and we out!
Music is provided by Curly Clements and his Rodeo Rangers.