Hell’s Crossroads (1957)

3.3
(3)

This Republic western is yet another retelling of the James Brothers saga–albeit one with a few unexpected twists. This time, Jesse and Frank are supporting characters, while the film’s dramatic weight is carried by Jesse’s (fictional) friend and fellow outlaw Vic Rodell. After one holdup too many, Vic decides to retire from the robbery biz and settle down with his fiancee Paula Collins. It so happens that Paula’s brother is another ex-James gang member, Bob Ford. In exchange for full pardons, Vic and Bob agree to betray Jesse and Frank and bring them to justice, dead or alive. This may well be the only American film in which “dirty little coward” Bob Ford, the man who ultimately plugs Jesse in the back, is depicted sympathetically.

Director: Franklin Adreon.
Writers: John K. Butler (story), John K. Butler & Barry Shipman (screenplay)
Stars: Stephen McNally, Robert Vaughn, Peggie Castle, Barton MacLane, Harry Shannon, Henry Brandon, Douglas Kennedy, Grant Withers, Myron Healey, Frank Wilcox, Jean Howell, Morris Ankrum.

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