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Ride the Man Down
Western, Favorite

1952 | 4:3 | Color | Quality: Very Good - This is a restoration from multiple sources I worked on for seven years.

Rod Cameron

Forrest Tucker, Jim Davis, Ella Raines, Barbara Britton


Big time cattle rancher Phil Evarts (Stanley Andrews) dies during a blizzard, leaving the enormous Hatchet Ranch to his brother John (James Bell) and his feisty daughter Celia (Ella Raines). Hard-nosed Foreman Will Ballard (Rod Cameron) tries to keep the ranch together, but things are falling apart in a hurry as most of the hands have quit, and the ranch is composed of several pockets of free grazing land. Rival ranchers Bide Marriner (Brian Donlevy), Sam Danfelser (Forrest Tucker), Harv Garrison (Douglas Kennedy), Ray Cavanaugh (Paul Fix) and Kennedy (Jack LaRue) all plan to move onto Hatchet land with their cattle. Sheriff Joe Keen (J. Carroll Naish) is corrupt and turns a blind eye to the goings on against Hatchet ranch, leaving John Evarts and Ballard on their own to deal with the interlopers. But when John Evarts is murdered, Ballard gets deadly serious about dealing with the opposition and things get nasty. Now that the Hatchet Ranch has fallen to Celia, Sam Danfelser hopes that he will gain full control of the sprawling ranch when he marries her - but he begins to suspect that his sweetheart and Ballard may have more than just a professional relationship. Sleaze-ball Saloon owner Red Courteen (Jim Davis) also has an ax to grind with Ballard and inserts himself into the proceedings. Ballard meanwhile has his hands full trying to save Hatchet, fight off his numerous enemies, and get justice for the murdered John Evarts - with only crusty old Ike Adams (Chill Wills), the ranch cook Chris (Chris Pin Martin) and two young rawhiders Mel and Jim Young (Al Caudebec, Royden Clark) to help him.

One of my personal all-time favorite westerns, Ride The Man Down packs a lot of plot in its 90 minute running time! Expertly directed by Republic's in-house director Joe Kane, the film is packed full of action and drama right from the start. It's a range war western, but it's complicated by the fact that several of the characters are really working their own agendas. An impressive cast list of familiar players are here supporting Cameron: Forrest Tucker, Brian Donlevy, Ell Raines, Barbara Britton, Chill Wills, Taylor Holmes, Paul Fix, Roy Barcroft, Jim Davis, J. Carrol Naish, and Douglas Kennedy. All perform with the usual professional polish you would expect from this group. The fight between Rod Cameron and Forrest Tucker is superb and one of the most impressive I've seen in films of this period. Ella Raines excels as Celia Evarts who gives every bit as good as she gets against the roughs who invade her home.

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