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Have Cheetah,Will View #454 – “The Duel At Silver Creek” (1952)

Its 10:00 am
warm/humid

The cheetah and I had so much fun watching and reviewing a new Western film recently that we wanted to watch a older classic movie from the 1950s. As luck would have it,I had happened to to find a Western multipack from Universal Studios that I had found at Big Lots.
   It featured four films from the golden days of the Hollywood western,the 1950s and was packed with well known western film names that any serious western fan would know and also be a great introduction for new fans like the cheetah and most likely you,the reader. 
  The first film we watched was “The Duel At Silver Creek” and it came out in 1952……

  The film starts off with the voice over of Marshal Lightning Tyrone (Stephen McNally) as he explains that a ruthless gang of claim jumpers were forcing small prospectors to sign over their claims and then killing them in cold-blood. The Marshal has been trying to capture the gang but to no avail. 

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   Meanwhile Luke Cromwell (Audie Murphy) and his dad seem on the brink of finding gold as the dad has mined a nice bag of gold dust that he wants Luke to take to the bank. The two men don’t see the gang watching them. The gang,led by Rod Lacy (Gerald Mohr),see that Luke is leaving and Lacy tells a couple of his boys to bushwhack Luke. 
   The gang then rides down to the camp and force Pops Cromwell to sign over his claim. It is at this moment that Luke is ambushed by the two riders Lacy sent but Luke is much faster and kills both men before hearing two shots from behind him,he mounts his horse and rides back home only to find the gang riding off and his father dead. 
  Luke pursues the gang and kills one more before having his horse killed. He examines the dead man and finds something interesting…

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  Meanwhile in Silver City Marshal Tyrone is handling business and has a run in with a would be gunman named Johnny Sombrero. Sombrero thinks the Marshal is slowing down whenever Lightning challenges him to find out,Johnny slinks away. When the Marshal hears about another attack,he gathers a posse and leaves an old retired lawman named Dan in charge of the town before riding off.

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   While leading the posse,Tyrone is wounded in his right shoulder which happens to be his gun hand. He is taken to a local fort where he is treated for his wound and where he meets the lovely Opal (Faith Domergue) and becomes smitten by her. Opal mentions she is going to Silver City to help her brother open a office there and Marshal Tyrone is quite pleased to hear that.
   When a badly wounded prospector is brought to the fort,the Marshal hopes he can provide some info on the outlaw gang but he dies before he can say anything. 

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  Back in Silver City Dan is keeping the peace until he is shot in the back during a heavy rainstorm which washes all the evidence away.
   So when Marshal Tyrone comes back and finds out the bad news,he is none too pleased and makes a beeline to Johnny Sombrero who claims his innocence as he was hired on by a new outfit. Marshal Tyrone leans into Johnny and his new friend Blake hard but he leaves knowing Johnny really might be innocent this time.  He heads back to his office where he learns that a new face in town called The Silver Kid may have had a hand in the shooting. 
  It turns out that new face is none other then Luke and he is playing poker when the Marshal comes looking for him. An incident at the poker game convinces Marshal Tyrone of two things,Luke didn’t do it and the Marshal needs his help because he is hiding a secret.
   Meanwhile the Marshal sees Opal in the new office and is introduced to her brother who turns out to be Rod Lacy,the gang boss!! Of course you know this is going to throw a spur into this romance…..

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This was a kick ass little film and it had a lot to say. Wonderfully directed by the legandary Don Siegel who directed over 45 films in his career including several Clint Eastwood films including “Dirty Harry”. Siegel also directed John Wayne’s last (and one of his best films) movie “The Shootist”. 
    Even though “Silver Creek” was a early effort for Siegel,you can already see his hand was firm behind the camera,the action is excellent,the pacing is fast and furious and Siegel liked directing a good story.  
   And for a small western like “Silver Creek”,the story was above standard. The dymanic between the aging Marshal and the young gunslinger turned deputy may seem old hat and in some ways it was but the chemistry between McNally and Murphy was really good. Audie Murphy,who was the most decorated soldier in World War Two,became a Hollywood star after he returned home from Europe. “The Duel At Silver Creek” was only his 10th film. The script kept his speaking lines down and put the focus on McNally’s Lightning Tyrone. But Murphy had a commanding screen presence and he was fun to watch. His Luke may have been young but he was wise to know that Lightning was being played and that the lawman was so lonely that he allowed himself to be blinded by the fantasy of having a normal life with Opal. 

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  The story by Gerald Drayson Adams is a good one,it had a seriously ruthless heavy,solid gunplay and action and also a good character study of man who wants to walk away and live a peaceful life but just doesn’t and isn’t sure about to go about it. 
  The rest of the cast is quite good,there is a early appearance by Lee Marvinwho became one of best Hollywood “tough guys”. Susan Cabot,who played the love interest of Murphy in the film,later guest starred twice on “Have Gun,Will Travel”. Both Cabot and Murphy ended dying way too early…Cabot was murdered by her son and Audie Murphy died in a plane crash. 

   “The Duel At Silver Creek” has a run time of 77 minutes and is in color. There are no special features and should be considered a PG rating.

We both enjoyed this film quite a bit and it was a hoot reviewing it as well. What Western films are your favorites? Drop a comment below and let us know!!

The cheetah and I are now active on InstaGram and YouTube. Stop by and say hello!!!

7 thoughts on “Have Cheetah,Will View #454 – “The Duel At Silver Creek” (1952)

  1. A B-Western I saw comes to mind. Colt .45. The promise of the film was whoever had these “state of the art weapons would be the most powerful. It starred Randolph Scott and Lloyd Bridges. It’s laughable now. A six-shooter as the most powerful weapon. It course the bad guy steals the weapon as wrecks havoc.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Watching these oaters now after not seeing them for decades really shows them in a new light. The one thing that really leaps out at me….just how good the acting could be,even in a B Movie. The dialogue is bit chunky but a lot of it is still better then today’s cowpoo…..doing this review was a lot of fun.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post 🙂 Interesting to see you reviewing an early Don Siegel film 🙂 His most famous famous later films include 1971’s Dirty Harry and 1973’s Charley Varrick to name just two examples 🙂 Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Interesting post, Michael. I’m a Don Siegel fan. It’s always intriguing to find early work from famous directors. How did they do without a big star, and big bucks? Don Siegel always took a grittier approach to filmmaking in my opinion. He didn’t rely on stylism, lots of choreographed action scenes and explosions, but he did interject politics–quite effectively, I might add–into his movies.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I really liked “Duel”,I thought it made for a solid character study and Siegal pulled it off quite well. The pacing was brisk and the villains were quite nasty for the times. It was a shame to see how Audie Murphy ended up before his early passing. He was quite a screen presence and a lot of fun to watch. I had a lot of fun watching this one.

      Liked by 1 person

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