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Utah Blaine

1957 | 4:3 | Black & White | Quality: Excellent

Rory Calhoun

Susan Cummings


Mike "Utah" Blaine (Rory Calhoun) is a well-known gunslinger who is on the run from Mexico under questionable circumstances. Discreetly watching from a distance as a band of thugs intends to hang rancher Joe Neal (Ken Christy), Utah arrives in time to save the man's neck and is rewarded by the rancher with a job, an introduction to the beautiful Angie Kinyon (Susan Cummings), and eventually, half of the sprawling 46-Connected Ranch. However, throwing in with Neal immediately puts Blaine opposite a group of crooked vigilantes headed by Russ Nevers (Ray Teal). They run roughshod over the area because the town has no mayor, no town council, and most importantly, no sheriff. The group prizes the beautiful land of the 46-Connected Ranch and are ready to go to any lengths to take it and split it up for themselves. Among the group of thugs is Rink Witter (George Keymas) - a rival gunslinger with whom Blaine has a score to settle. Lacking any legitimate law enforcement in the area, it is up to Utah Blaine to see that justice is done!

"Utah Blaine" turns the conventions of the western genre around by making the homesteaders the villains. Instead of the standard "Big rancher tries to drive the little guys out of business and get their land", here it is the envious little people (led by Ray Teal-"Bonanza's" Roy Coffee) who are trying to break up the big ranches and "distribute the wealth." This sets up an interesting parallel to things happening in today's society whereas the establishment of law and order and the protection of property rights are major themes. The unusual plot twist is an added treat on top of what is already a nicely paced western that is packed full of action. Don't miss Calhoun decking ex-heavyweight champ Max Baer (now we know why the movies are called "make believe")! Gorgeous Susan Cummings is Blaine's love interest and you can understand his attraction when you see her walk around in extraordinarily tight leather pants (and this was made in 1957). Not until "Coyote Ugly" would a film again put pants to such good use. It doesn't do much for the film's realism but you won't find me complaining. The familiar cast of background characters add strength, and the depth and serve to make this western very interesting & watchable.

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