In A Lawless Street, a forerunner of the roles that would bring him his greatest critical acclaim (a series of B-movie Westerns for director Budd Boetticher) Randolph Scott stars as an ageing sheriff whose obsession with upholding the law plays havoc with his personal life. Stylishly directed by Joseph H Lewis (best known for the B-movie classics Gun Crazy and The Big Combo), this Technicolor Western is based on the novel Marshal of Medicine Bend by Brad Ward.
Having dedicated his life to keeping crime off the streets of Colorado’s towns, Calem Ware (Scott) is now keen to retire. His marriage to Tally Dickinson (Angela Lansbury) has failed and she’s pursuing a career in show business, having tired of his dangerous job. His desire to hang up his badge as marshal of Medicine Bend is not reciprocated by the townsfolk, however, and they want him to protect them from impending trouble.
This trouble comes in the shape of gunman Harley Baskam (Michael Pate), who’s been hired by the town’s two main thieves, Hamer Thorne (Warner Anderson) and Cody Clark (John Emery), who want to protect their crooked investment from Ware’s honourable intentions. The gunman almost succeeds in killing Ware, who manages to escape and decides to lie low for a while. As the two crooks take over Medicine Bend, the marshal bides his time and plots his revenge.
USA / Columbia / 78 minutes / 1955 Filmed in technicolor
Writer: Kenneth Gamet (based on the story Marshal of Medicine Bend by Brad Ward) / Music: Paul Sawtell / Cinematography: Ray Rennahan / Producer: Harry Joe Brown / Director: Joseph H Lewis
Cast: Randolph Scott, Angela Lansbury, Warner Anderson, Jean Parker, Wallace Ford, John Emery, James Bell