As contemporary reviewers mockingly noted, Cassavetes brings an inescapable tang of Method juvenile delinquency to the old West, which doesn't prevent this Western (scripted by Rod Serling) from being way above par. He plays a youth brought up since childhood by a much older brother (Taylor), now a rancher but hero-worshipped in the boy's memory as a once-feared gunslinger; Taylor changed under the influence of his own father-figure, a puritanically upright cattle baron (Crisp); and Cassavetes conceives it as his role to protect the protector he now sees as grown old and weak. He hones himself as a fast draw, but in so doing unleashes a mad dog killer instinct in himself... Parrish handles both action and relationships with great fluency and flair, bringing off moments of genuine inspiration: as Cassavetes obsessively practises his gun-slinging, for instance, he impulsively fires at his own reflection in a pool, gazing awe-struck as the human image abruptly shatters. Julie London is striking in an underdeveloped role as a saloon singer, shyly picked by Cassavetes as a bride, then standing helplessly by as Jekyll turns into Hyde; and there are stand-out cameos from McGraw, Dano and Erdman.
Cast and crew