Ten Wanted Men (1955, directed by Bruce Humberstone)

Arizona rancher Wick Campbell (Richard Boone) is angered when he discovers that one of his servants, Maria (Donna Martell), would rather marry Howie Stewart (Skip Homeier) than be with Wick.  Wick has had a long rivalry with Howie and his older brothers, John (Randolph Scott) and Adam (Lester Matthews).  Determined to get rid of the Stewarts and to have Maria for himself, Wick hires notorious gunfighter Frank Scavo (Leo Gordon) to take over the town and defeat the Stewarts, one way or another.

Ten Wanted Men (the title refers to Scavo’s gang) is an above average Randolph Scott western.  Scott was one of the best of the western heroes because he always seemed so authentic whenever he rode a horse, shot a gun, or even just put on a cowboy hat.  Scott was also an underrated actor and, as he got older, he became Hollywood’s go-to choice whenever they needed a strong, silent lead for a western.  That’s the role that he plays in Ten Wanted Men, as the patriarch of the Stewart family.  He’s instinctively fair but he will do whatever has to be done to protect his brothers.

Wick Campbell is John Stewart’s opposite, an oily rancher who hires other men to bully his enemies and who abuses his servant in a way that the Stewarts never would consider.  Though Richard Boone became best known for playing the hero on Have Gun–Will Travel, Wick is the type of cowardly villain who everyone will be happy to see get exactly what he deserves.  As played by Leo Gordon, Frank Scavo is a brutish outlaw and, unlike Wick, he doesn’t pretend to be anything else.

Ten Wanted Men is a good western.  The plot may not be surprising but the gunfights are exciting and Randolph Scott is as ideal a hero as always.  Fans of the genre will enjoy it.

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