Used in Mesa
5 years earlier Dave Robles' (Anthony Quinn) friends were killed by the notorious gunman Dan Ritchy (Barry Atwater), it lead to Dave learning how to shoot and ending up in the town of Mesa waiting for Ritchy to show up. After Dave does the impossible and outdraws the quick draw he is invited to become the town's sheriff. But wearing the badge doesn't bring him much respect as some residents are opposed to having a Mexican killer in charge whilst saloon owner Ed Bannister (Peter Whitney) is less than happy that Dave refuses to be bossed about by him or turn a blind eye to his various underhand dealings. If it wasn't for Dave having met and fallen for the pretty Estella (Katy Jurado) he probably wouldn't hang around or try and clean up his own act.
Anthony Quinn in the lead role in a western, that sounds kind of wrong to me as whilst Quinn was a great actor in the right movie he never seemed to be an obvious choice as a western hero. But when it comes to "Man from Del Rio" it is Quinn's characterisation of a man thrown into law enforcement in an unlawful town which makes the movie. Quinn plays Robles as a man whose working class background is clear to see as well as his yearning to have what the next man has. But he also brings out that tough guy who having fallen for a woman is willing to change for her. It makes for some amusing scenes as he makes various plays for Estella, another strong performance from Katy Jurado.
The thing is that when you look past Quinn's unique characterisation the rest of "Man from Del Rio" is pretty cliche as we have that old favourite of an unlawful western town with on one side the well to do citizens who want peace but will use a man to do so and the other you have saloon owner Bannister who encourages trouble in town and who wants Robles in his pocket. Don't get me wrong as it works through this familiar set up in an effective manner with some solid whilst unfussy camera work but it is a storyline which has been done in one form or another a few times and beyond Quinn's performance and Jurado's natural appeal it doesn't bring anything new to the genre.
What this all boils down to is that "Man from Del Rio" is certainly an entertaining western with the performances of Anthony Quinn and Katy Jurado being a big part of what makes it enjoyable. But beyond that this is another 1950s western which recycles a storyline used more times than I care to remember.