Bullwhipping in Stock Western
During the 50s Randolph Scott made a lot of westerns, the trouble is that many of them are rather ordinary, play book movies where familiar elements from other westerns are combined but with little flare. One of these rather routine westerns is "Tall Man Riding" which sees Scott basically playing a good guy but a wronged man looking for revenge for a whipping he took some years earlier. There is an evil land owner, a corrupt saloon owner, a quick shooting side winder, corrupt deputy and a couple of women, all of which are little more than stock western elements. As such whilst "Tall Man Riding" isn't a bad movie it is another ordinary and forgettable one.
5 years after being publicly humiliated after a bullwhipping from Tucker Ordway (Robert Barrat), the father of Corinna (Dorothy Malone - Young at Heart) who he was in love with, Larry Madden (Randolph Scott - Ten Wanted Men) returns and is looking to get revenge. Whilst Larry knows that Tucker doesn't legally own the land he lives on he wants to exact revenge via the gun but will oust him from this ranch if he can't. But Larry isn't the only one who wants Tucker dealt with saloon owner Cibo Pearlo (John Baragrey) wants him gone and starts causing difficulties except Corinna believes it is Larry's fault when misfortune hits her family.
So as already pointed out "Tall Man Riding" is not in possession of a great storyline and comes across as a series of western cliches. In fact there are a surprising number of cliches from the man looking for revenge, the corrupt businessman through to a former love interest and they are just the main ones because for a movie which is less than 90 minutes it manages to combine 3 or 4 more cliches into the mix. Now in fairness there is a tiny amount of mystery, certain things you can guess such as Larry Madden once being in love with Corinna Ordway but the reason why it never worked out is a little surprise. The trouble is that these little surprises don't make up for all this cliche and so it does become a case of watching knowing that certain things are going to happen.
And that leads to another issue because whilst "Tall Man Riding" starts with a bit of action it is not that exciting and then it feels like an age before the next bit of action shows up. And to be honest when the action does arrive it is not that exciting, again feeling very cliche and often very obvious when a stuntman is standing in for Randolph Scott. It really only gets exciting when we get a race for land and we have several horses and wagons flying and bumping across the land.
And in the spirit of what I have already said the acting is again the stuff of western cliche with Randolph Scott giving us his tall upright good man but one with a grudge, although to be honest you never really expect him to go through with what he plans, this is good guy Scott. John Baragrey gives us plenty of evil stares as corrupt businessman Cibo Pearlo whilst Paul Richards gives us cocky as quick draw The Peso Kid. Plus we have a couple of beauties in Peggie Castle as Reva and Dorothy Malone as Corinna which brings another issue as we are meant to believe that 5 years earlier Corinna and Larry had been in love which with Scott being 25 years older than Malone is a bit of a stretch.
What this all boils down to is that "Tall Man Riding" is basically your standard 1950s Randolph Scott western. It's by no means a terrible movie but with everything about it being so ordinary it is forgettable.