A fine Western, harshly shot by Joe MacDonald in Death Valley locations, inevitably conjuring comparisons with Greed and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre as six bankrobbers on the run all but die in the desert salt flats before stumbling on a ghost town where a lone prospector (Barton) guards twin secrets: his rich gold strike and his fiercely tomboyish granddaughter (Baxter). Like a pack of wolves, the strangers are soon snarling lustfully after gold and/or the girl, with their leader (Peck) gradually detaching himself as his presence causes the girl to discover her femininity, and hers revives in him something of the man he was before Quantrill's Raiders descended on his home. Intriguingly, Lamar Trotti's screenplay develops WR Burnett's source story with The Tempest in mind, the subtler analogies serving to provide resonances. The situation again harks back to fraternal conflict (the year is 1867, in the aftermath of the Civil War); Yellow Sky also has its malign spirits, a band of renegade Apaches under the uneasy control of the prospector; and the conflict similarly resolves strangely, at its violent climax, into a sense of conciliation. Beautifully cast and characterised, this is one of Wellman's best films.
Cast and crew
|Director:||William A Wellman|