Dealing with Payne in Laramie
After once again finding himself in trouble with his superiors after getting into yet another barroom brawl, sergeant Jefferson Harder (John Payne) is offered a chance to prove himself as some officials in Laramie have requested the army's support. Jefferson is to become a special marshal in Laramie in order to not only clean up the town but also get to the bottom of who has been preventing the railroad from being completed by sabotaging it. The trouble is that everyone in town knows that it is Jim Shanessy (Dan Duryea), the town's saloon owner and his goons who are behind it, but Jefferson and Jim grew up together.
If I was trying to be deep I would say that "Rails Into Laramie" is all about the character of Jefferson Harder and his transformation from being someone who thinks a little first but quickly uses his fists to someone who really thinks first before getting physical. But I doubt anyone would really believe me as "Rails Into Laramie" is just another 1950s western where the solitary good guy roles in to town and deals with the trouble there whilst finding a bit of time in-between hitting people for some romancing on the side. There is nothing special about it and its strength is in having a few familiar faces and an effective whilst unfussy direction to keep it moving.
But whilst "Rails Into Laramie" is still watchable, that is if you are a fan of 1950s westerns, it does often feel like it resides solely around the character of Jefferson busting heads and up setting people. Barely a few minutes go by where either his attitude or what he says ends up riling up others and in truth it becomes a little monotonous. The thing is that John Payne plays the part well bringing an element of "the world owes him something, bitterness" to the role but the character isn't overly likeable. Aside from Payne there is Dan Duryea delivering yet another stereotypical evil businessman performance whilst the women, Mari Blanchard and Joyce Mackenzie, get little to do.
What this all boils down to is that "Rails Into Laramie" is just another western from the 1950s which sadly doesn't have anything about it to make it stand out from the rather large crowd. As such it is now more of a movie for fans of old westerns who like to watch an old movie they have never seen before just to add it to their list of westerns they have watched.