Western fans will like FORT OSAGE (1952), an entertaining Rod Cameron Western available as part of the Monogram Cowboy Collection, Vol. 2, from the Warner Archive.
Last night I reviewed another Cameron film in the set, the entertaining WAGONS WEST (1952), and I thought this one was even better. Western specialist Lesley Selander directed FORT OSAGE with his typical vigor, making it an enjoyable 72 minutes.
Cameron plays wagonmaster Tom Clay, who arrives in Fort Osage with news that the Osage are on the warpath. He advises wagon train organizer Arthur Pickett (Morris Ankrum) against sending the wagon train on its way to California until the situation with the Osage tribe is resolved.
Clay tries to untangle the problems of the tribe and the westward-bound settlers, and meanwhile he's also got his eye on pretty Ann Pickett (Jane Nigh).
Like WAGONS WEST, FORT OSAGE was written by Daniel Ullman and photographed by Harry Neumann in Cinecolor, but this Walter Mirisch production feels stronger overall, with a more coherent script which includes a sympathetic treatment of Indians. Director Selander also stages a strong fistfight between Cameron and a would-be assassin (Fred Graham).
It's another plus that the movie's Southern California exteriors are free of annoyances such as rear projections and day for night shooting. This is a very nice-looking low-budget film.
The cast is filled with faces who feel like old friends. In addition to Cameron, Kennedy, Ankrum, and Nigh, the cast includes John Ridgely, always a favorite of mine, plus Myron Healey, Stan Jolley, Dorothy Adams, Lane Bradford, Barbara Woodell, and Iron Eyes Cody.
Anne Kimbell, who has a small role as Annie Winfield, was also in last night's film, WAGONS WEST (1952), as Noah Beery Jr.'s pregnant wife. Kimbell was busy on screen throughout the '50s; IMDb indicates she retired for life as the wife of a foreign service officer. She also worked at one time for the University of Southern California. Kimbell now writes spy thrillers; she has an Amazon page. She is also the President of the Board of Directors of the Westcliffe Center for the Performing Arts in Colorado. What a very interesting life!
The Rod Cameron Westerns in Vol. 2 of the Warner Archive's Monogram Cowboy Collection have made this set a winner for me thus far. Look for reviews of the set's Whip Wilson films here in the future, as well as additional reviews of Vol. 1 films starring Jimmy Wakely and Johnny Mack Brown.
Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this DVD collection. Warner Archive releases are MOD (manufactured on demand) and may be ordered at the Warner Archive website.