Colorado Territory (Walsh, 1949)

Colorado Territory (Raoul Walsh, 1949)

Colorado Territory is a western with a true anti-hero where the audience can easily find itself cheering for an unremorseful thief. Joel McCrea plays this man who isn’t innocent of the crimes he’s being hunted for, isn’t trying to make good for all his wrongs, and is actually trying to pull off one more gig before putting his life on the right track. He is tasked to work with two henchmen and a tag-along girl to complete the job, and during his travels he meets an older man with a daughter who catches his eye. Unlike many westerns, this protagonist does not always do everything exactly the way he plans, and he rarely even knows what he wants. He fumbles around in his thoughts and feelings, is double-crossed by more people than seems possible, and is truly a man caught in his loneliness. It’s one of the more tragic westerns I’ve seen, and McCrea’s character one of the most intriguing. The film isn’t without flaws, but they are mostly small and I can look past them considering its other unique features.  9/10


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