For Reel

Badman’s Territory (1946)
July 9, 2016, 2:23 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Tim Whelan
3.5 Stars
Badman's TerritoryThe 1940s in particular were a year in which the western genre, which had its foundation in the most literal black-and-white sense of morality, explored situations that were slightly more ambiguous, where heroes and villains tend to be complicated because of the nature of what exactly is right. Badman’s Territory is very much about how one’s personal code fits into the world around them, and particularly how a social morality must be achieved to bring order—in the outlaw town of Quinto, the good citizens request a lawman so as to have protection from one another. Randolph Scott plays the local sheriff who finds his way to Quinto when pursuing the gang that helped his brother recover after a shootout. When Scott comes face-to-face with the famed James gang, it is somewhat of a surprise that he is so cordial and thankful—even if they are criminals, the charitable act from the Coyote Kid (a delightful George “Gabby” Hayes) shows they are not soulless. Badman’s Territory is at its best when it indulges in the episodic, day-to-day life of the town and the people therein, including a horse race, a dance, and the shy courtship between Scott and a local printer (Ann Richards), however the action sequences are also well-choreographed.

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