Buchanan Rides Alone (Columbia 1958 with Randolph Scott and Craig Stevens)

USA / Columbia / 78 minutes / 1958

Writer: Charles Lang, from the novel The Name’s Buchanan by Jonas Ward / Director: Budd Boetticher

Cast: Randolph Scott, Craig Stevens, Barry Kelley, Tol Avery, Peter Whitney, Manuel Rojas, L Q Jones, Robert Anderson, Joe de Santis

RANDOLPH SCOTT co-produced this lively second feature Western. He was ideally cast as Buchanan, a Texan who rides into a small border town controlled by Lew Agry (BARRY KELLEY) and his family. There Buchanan befriends Juan, a young Mexican played by MANUEL ROJAS who avenges the dishonour of his sister by the town bully. But the dead man was related to Agry. Buchanan is arrested and then freed while Juan is convicted and threatened with lynching by a mob led by Abe Carbo (CRAIG STEVENS). Buchanan then pits the town’s influential citizens against each other, resulting in his and Juan’s freedom.

Buchanan Rides Alone rises entertainingly above its second feature origins thanks to the accomplished playing of Scott, the vigorous handling (notably of the climactic shootout) of cult director Budd Boetticher and a knowing, authentic, well-constructed and often mordantly witty screenplay by Charles Lang, based on the novel The Name’s Buchanan by Jonas Ward. ‘Jonas Ward’ was the pseudonym of William Ard. When he died in the mid-Sixties the Buchanan series of novels was continued by other writers, among them Brian Garfield (author of Death Wish) and William R Cox.