Audie Murphy in Tumbleweed (1953)

Have Nag Will Travel

Having been hired to escort a wagon train across country Jim Harvey (Audie Murphy - Gunsmoke) has connections with the Indians as he once saved the life of Chief Aguila's (Ralph Moody) son. But whilst Jim leaves the train to try and negotiate a safe journey it is attacked with only two women surviving. When Jim makes it to the town he finds himself being blamed for what happened and forced to go on the run on what appears to be an old broken down nag with the Sheriff and his posse in pursuit, eventually catching him but they too come under attack from the Indians. With Chief Aguila fatally wounded in the trouble he comes clean and tells them who was behind the attack on the wagon train which Jim is blamed for.

That synopsis for "Tumbleweed" doesn't sound that special does it, Audie Murphy in another role as a good cowboy where he is blamed for something not of his doing and then having to try and clear his name. In fact you can put pretty much put any name in there from Randolph Scott to Robert Wagner as it is an extremely generic storyline which had been done plenty of times during the course of cinematic history.

Lori Nelson in Tumbleweed (1953)

And on the subject of generic whilst director Nathan Juran and cinematographer Russell Metty deliver a well paced and nice looking movie it doesn't have anything which stands out from the crowd. The action scenes are solid as are scenes of the horse riding whilst Vasquez Rocks once again providing the backdrop to part of the movie. But there are no stunning sky lines or creative camera angles just the solid sort of thing found in the majority of 1950s westerns.

But what "Tumbleweed" has is a horse, an old nag of a horse which turns out to be the star of the movie. Now I am not going to tell you why because it would spoil the surprise but this horse is a scene stealer who will make you smile.

What this all boils down to is that for the most "Tumbleweed" is an ordinary western, nicely shot but nothing out of the ordinary when it comes to the movies of Audie Murphy. But then there is a horse and a horse which is a scene stealer which makes "Tumbleweed" that little bit more entertaining.