Ben Johnson and Peter Graves in Fort Defiance (1951)

Brotherly Revenge

When Johnny Tallon (Dane Clark) deserted his outfit many people died because of him, Ben Shelby (Ben Johnson) was one of the lucky ones but after the war heads to the Tallon ranch to get his revenge. What he discovers in Johnny's blind brother Ned (Peter Graves) with his uncle Charlie (George Cleveland) keeping the place going with Ned waiting for his brother the hero to come home unaware that he saw a deserter who turned outlaw. When another man shows up to get revenge by killing Ned for the loss of his brothers Ben comes to his rescue, helping him get away which is then Johnny shows up. But there is no time for Ben to settle his grievances as they come under attack from Indians and the two men must work together to survive.

I am a movie fan first, movie reviewer second and as a movie fan I always want to watch something good if not great but as a reviewer some times I need to watch some thing just about okay to give myself some variation. And that is what "Fort Defiance" is, just an okay western from the early 1950s which features some familiar actor such as Ben Johnson and okay story with personal conflict and of course some cowboy action. In truth "Fort Defiance" feels like the ideas for a bigger movie but got snapped up by a studio looking to make a quick oater which they succeeded in doing.

The thing is that in it its own simple way with Ben torn by his desire for revenge and the friendship he forms with Ned makes for an engaging movie. It isn't overly original as other movies have explored the conflict and it isn't overly deep but it trots along with drama and action nicely spread through out.

What this all boils down to is that "Fort Defiance" isn't anything special and not a western which is going to convince anyone of the joys of the genre. But if you are a fan of old westerns it is an entertaining time filler.