Last Train from Gun Hill (J. Sturges, 1959)

Last Train from Gun Hill (John Sturges, 1959)

Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly.  –Leviticus 19:15

First of all, this is a daring film for 1959. A white protagonist married to an Indian woman. A somewhat explicit attack on this woman resulting in a rape and murder. A lot of very open talk of another character’s life as a prostitute. While much of this is still tame compared to what you can find in movies today, for this time period, it was a bit jarring. It helps the film’s atmosphere tremendously though. This is a hard-nosed section of the far west and no one is living cookie cutter western lives. Additionally, it makes the relationship between the two older protagonists all the more interesting. A relationship built on respect and friendship knifed by a horrible situation that throws each into a heartbreaking set of circumstances. You can’t blame either for reacting the way they do and while justice is warranted, it’s not easy to accept. The film’s plot does drag a bit once it is fully set up, so the momentum of such a grand beginning stutters as it goes. But it comes to a conclusion that fits perfectly and is a solid film that’s not one to miss.  8.25/10

last train from gun hill

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