Introduction by critic Imogen Sara Smith

Robert Wise’s synthesis of western and film noir was a breakthrough for the director and further solidified Robert Mitchum as one of Hollywood’s most intriguing leading men. Mitchum plays Jim Garry, an underemployed cowboy enlisted by an old friend (Robert Preston) to collude in a scheme to get an aging cattle owner to sell off his herd at a discount. The deadly intrigue that results from this plot leads Jim to wonder whether he’s on the right side of the conflict and to further crave the trust of the cattle owner’s daughter (Barbara Bel Geddes). Mitchum flourishes amid Wise’s assured direction of screenwriter Lillie Hayward’s foreboding, twist-laden, psychologically rich script, adapted from a novel by Luke Short.