WAGONS WEST (1952) is an enjoyable Western starring Rod Cameron and Peggie Castle. It's available as part of the Monogram Cowboy Collection, Vol. 2, from the Warner Archive.
Cameron plays Jeff Curtis, a kindly wagon train guide hired by Cyrus Cook (Frank Ferguson). Cook and his nephews Clay (Henry Brandon) and Gaylord (Riley Hill) are unfortunately nasty types, the kind who would order a boy to shoot his dog rather than bring it on the journey west, and they're also the types who would smuggle guns to sell to the Cheyenne.
What's more, Clay has it in for Jeff when Jeff takes a shine to Ann (Castle), and Clay is even more enraged when Ann gets past her initial skepticism of Jeff and returns his affection.
This pleasant, undemanding but entertaining film was a great way to wrap up a relaxing day's movie watching. (With temperatures here hovering over 100 degrees, taking it easy with some movies made for a perfect Sunday.) I expect my fellow Western fans will probably like it as well.
Michael Chapin plays Peggie Castle's younger brother; Michael was the brother of child actors Lauren (FATHER KNOWS BEST) and Billy Chapin. Sara Haden of the ANDY HARDY series plays Frank Ferguson's wife. Other familiar faces include Glenn Strange and I. Stanford Jolley.
The movie was shot in the inexpensive Cinecolor process, and the colors in the early scenes are quite variable. It seems to settle down as the movie goes on, or perhaps I just got used to the film's look after a while! The cinematographer was Harry Neumann. The movie was almost entirely shot outdoors on Southern California locations.
Ford Beebe from a screenplay by Daniel Ullman. Ullman is a recurring name in my viewing in recent months, providing a number of enjoyable films including the Warner Archive's WICHITA (1955) and CANYON RIVER (1956).
WAGONS WEST is one of two Cinecolor Cameron Westerns included in Vol. 2 of the Archive's Monogram Cowboy Collection. It's a fine print, given the inherent limitations of Cinecolor. There are no extras.
The other six films in the set star Whip Wilson, an actor whose work I don't yet know. Look for more reviews of films in this set in the future.
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.