"RIDE THE MAN DOWN (1952 Republic)
RIDE THE MAN DOWN is one of those rare little movies where everyone is perfectly cast and every performance is dead-on as Mary McCall Jr. translates Luke Short's excellent Saturday Evening Post short story to the screen. It's very possibly the perfect casting more than the actor's abilities that makes their performances shine, as Short's story is strictly traditional. However, originality isn't the hallmark of excellence. Westerns like RIDE THE MAN DOWN transcend formula without destroying it. Producer/director Joe Kane, a fan of Short's stories, simply gives us an excellent western! When the tough old Hatchet ranch owner dies, that leaves his daughter (Ella Raines) and her weak kneed brother (James Bell) to maintain the thousands of acres as owners with strong willed ranch foreman Rod Cameron to preserve the fabulous ranch and save it from other greedy ranchers (Brian Donlevy and Forrest Tucker) who would move in on their grass. Stirred into the evolving story is a romantic foursome --- Tucker loves Raines but Raines has always looked up to Cameron who thinks he's in love with haughty town girl Barbara Britton. Along for the intriguing ride are Sheriff J. Carroll Naish, Donlevy's henchman Roy Barcroft, crooked saloon owner and rustler Jim Davis (in one of his nastiest roles), ranchers Paul Fix and Douglas Kennedy, Hatchet cook Chill Wills, young rawhider Roydon Clark (later stunt double for James Garner) and Britton's sleazy storekeep father Taylor Holmes. Fine example of how good a B-film can be."