Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Next to Slightly Scarlet, Silver Lode is the best of the many 1950s collaborations between producer Benedict Bogaeus and director Allan Dwan. Clearly inspired by High Noon, the story covers three hours in the lives of a group of westerners. As the townsfolk prepare for the Fourth of July celebration, stranger Dan Duryea rides into view, followed by three tough-looking hombres. Duryea claims to be as US marshal, and further claims that he has a warrant for the arrest of the town popular sheriff, John Payne. A few hours away from his marriage to Lizabeth Scott, Payne assumes that no one will believe the troublemaking Duryea, and that his spotless record will speak for itself. But since it is impossible to confirm or deny Duryea's allegations, the seeds of doubt are planted in the minds of the townspeople, and before long virtually all of Payne's "friends" have turned against him. It soon becomes clear to the movie audience that Duryea is lying, especially after he guns down one of his own men. But Duryea is able to pin the blame of the killing on Payne, and in a twinkling the sheriff is a hunted man. The only person willing to give Payne the benefit of the doubt is town trollop Dolores Moran (Mrs. Benedict Bogeaus), who hides the sheriff while telegrapher Frank Sully tries to find out if Duryea is telling the truth. Building slowly and methodically to a slam-bang climax, Silver Lode is an above-average psychological western--and, like many "guilt by supsicion" films of the 1950s, a thinly veiled attack on McCarthyism. Best line: when Duryea bursts into Dolores' boudoir to see if Payne is hiding under the bed, she moans "Oh, what is this? A French farce?"
betrayal, false-accusation, friendship, innocence, investigation, killing, murder, shoot-out, wedding