Synopsis by Hal Erickson
The first film version of W.R. Burnett's novel Saint Johnson was filmed as Law and Order in 1932. Essentially an all-names-changed retelling of the Wyatt Earp legend, the film scored on its humanity and restraint. The 1953 remake eschewed the shadings and subtleties of the original in favor of a traditional shoot-em-up, replete with gratuitous violence. Ronald Reagan stars as the Earp counterpart this time, who has sworn to bring criminal Preston S. Foster to justice. The original Law and Order had no love interest at all; the Reagan version pairs up the star with beautiful Dorothy Malone, and offers a second leading lady in the form of Ruth Hampton. The original had a hanging sequence which was treated as business as usual; the remake turns this sequence into a brutal lynching. Common to both films was the final showdown between Reagan and Foster, given added melodrama in the later version by the fact that Reagan had previously sworn to give up his guns for the love of his lady. Like most of Ronald Reagan's 1950s vehicles, Law and Order paid its way and was then forgotten.
bad-guy, bar [pub], brother, cowboy, fiancee, gangster, good-guy, killing, lawman, lawyer, marriage, marshal, outlaw [Western], plans, ranch, retirement, town, wife, Wild-West