Abilene Town (1946)

Genres - Western  |   Sub-Genres - B-Western  |   Run Time - 90 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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Ideally, one wants originality in a film, but sometimes a picture works quite well simply by doing everything that is expected of it, and such is the case with Abilene Town. It's a Western, one of a number that focus on the conflict between cowmen and homesteaders, and it includes all the ingredients one expects: a law man that has to find a way to keep the peace between the two conflicting sides, saloons (and saloon girls), shoot-outs, a stampede and a pure-of-heart heroine to contrast with the not quite so pure gals of the saloons. But it's in this last area that Abilene pulls a neat little twist, as our noble marshal chooses the lusty saloon singer over the "nice" girl. At any rate, what makes Abilene such a fun flick is the way all the expected pieces go together and the little details that scenarist Harold Shumate adds along the way (such as the manner in which the merchants switch sides between the herders and the homesteaders as they figure out which side can give them more profit). It also helps that director Edwin L. Marin keeps the film moving at a lively clip and knows how to highlight the big scenes for maximum impact. In the lead, Randolph Scott is just about perfect, and Ann Dvorak is a huge plus as the dame that gets him. Rhonda Fleming is a bit miscat, her sophistication working against the "everyday"-ness of the character, but Lloyd Bridges is quite good.