Starring Randolph Scott, Maureen O’Sullivan, Richard Boone, Henry Silva, Arthur Hunnicutt, Skip Homeier, John Hubbard
Lean. Brutal. Gripping.
Willard Mims: Would I save my own skin and leave my wife here?
Usher: I think you would.
Pat Brennan (Scott), just a hired hand, finds himself in the middle of a kidnapping as three violent outlaws (Boone, Silva, and Homeier) hold up his stagecoach and ransom off its female passenger, Doretta Mims (O’Sullivan), the daughter of a wealthy landowner. Her scheming husband soon leaves her behind, so it’s up to Brennan to help her. Boetticher and Scott made a number of fine films together, none finer than The Tall T. Not a moment wasted, no superfluous detail or action, and surprisingly brutal, The Tall T seems at once old-fashioned (in the best sense) and original. Stripped down to the bare essentials, the emphasis then becomes its characters who are fascinating and well-played. Brennan’s budding relationships with Doretta and the leader of the outlaws, Usher, are unpredictable and give the film its suspense. Top-tier western.
-Walter Tyrone Howard-