Incident at Phantom Hill (1966, directed by Earl Bellamy)


During the final weeks of the Civil War, a group of Confederates, led by Joe Barlow (Dan Duryea,) hijacked a shipment of Union gold and buried it near Phantom Hill, Texas. Now that the war is over and Barlow is in custody, he makes an offer. He’ll lead the government to the gold in return for a pardon. Needing the money, the government agrees to Barlow’s conditions. A group of Cavalrymen, led by Matt Martin (Robert Fuller), are ordered to accompany Barlow to Phantom Hill and retrieve the gold. Because the gold itself is buried near Comanche territory, the men will be traveling undercover. If Martin and his men are captured or killed, the U.S. government will disavow any knowledge of the them. Cue the Mission Impossible theme.

It’s an eventful journey to Phantom Hill. When a local sheriff recognizes Barlow as a wanted criminal, Martin has to convince him not to kill Barlow. The sheriff agrees, on the condition that Martin and his men escort a prostitute named Memphis (Jocelyn Lane) out of town. When a group of outlaws discover that Martin and Barlow are heading for the gold, they take off after them. Meanwhile, Barlow has a few plans of his own.

Incident at Phantom Hill is a fast-moving B-western, the type that will be appreciated by fans of the genre. There are a few good shootouts. Jocelyn Lane is beautiful as Memphis, Robert Fuller is firm at Matt Martin, and Dan Duryea is dangerous as Joe Barlow. The outlaws are unusually cruel and the scene where the kill a comic relief character was probably shocking for 1966. The most interesting thing about the movie is its portrayal of Union officers working with former Confederates and the struggle to determine where everyone fits in now that the Civil War is over. Barlow is not to be trusted by the relationship between Memphis and Matt suggests that the country can come back together as long as everyone has a common enemy that needs to be defeated.

 

One response to “Incident at Phantom Hill (1966, directed by Earl Bellamy)

  1. Pingback: Lisa Marie’s Week In Review: 11/1/21 — 11/7/21 | Through the Shattered Lens

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