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Author Topic: Dakota Incident (1956)  (Read 226 times)
Spikeopath
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« on: March 02, 2017, 10:16:38 AM »

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0049118/reference

All aboard the intriguing stage to Laramie.

An assorted group of people are waiting in Christian Flats for the stage to take them to Laramie. Once the empty stage arrives it's evident that it has been the victim of a Cheyenne attack, but out of need and bravery, the hardy souls decide to risk the journey regardless...

Very much a minor Western in the grand scheme of the 1950s offerings, Dakota Incident makes up for what it lacks in quality, by being an oddly structured film of intrigue. The actual "incident" of the film isn't until about the half way point, because prior to the inevitable Cheyenne attack, there is no shortage of character forming. In fact this might be the longest prologue in Western history! Basically crooked John Banner (Dale Robertson) is shot and apparently left for dead out in the hills by his two so called allies. Getting to the town he proceeds to annoy everyone with his oafishness and of course catch up with the two who wronged him. In amongst all this we are also following the interests of the few who will eventually make up the stage passengers. With sultry Amy Clarke (Linda Darnell), John Carter (John Lund), Regis Toomey's Minstrel and Senator Blakely (Ward Bond) being the main principals. All of whom have back stories as to why they are making this decidedly perilous trip.

It's very good stuff for its first half, in fact I tip my hat off to the makers for really giving the characters some substance. Yes we may not like them really, but at least our attention is held and as they board the stage, we are intrigued as to how things will pan out for them. The second half tho is a mixed bag, the action sequences are poorly put together but are off set a touch by the nice locale work at Red Rock Canyon State Park. While using the "Trucolor" technique really adds a vivid look to the action. None more so than the sight of the vivacious and curvy Darnell, resplendent in bright red dress, firing away at the Cheyenne with her newly acquired rifle. Dale Robertson and John Lund are average at best, but again it's not hurting the film too much because Darnell, Bond and Toomey are holding their ends up. The ending is perhaps a bit twee for some tastes, but it does work and closes the picture on a competent note.

Republic Pictures have done far better films than this, and this one is a tough picture to recommend to even the hardiest of Western fans. But it's got a beguiling factor, and an oddity that means it's definitely one to at least try to see if the chance should arise.

A cautious 6/10 from me.

Viewed via UK cable.

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