Thunder Over Arizona (1956) starring Skip Homeier, Kristine Miller, George Macready, Wallace Ford, Nacho Galindo, Gregory Walcott, Jack Elam directed by Joseph Kane Movie Review

Thunder Over Arizona (1956)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Skip Homeier as Tim Mallory in Thunder Over Arizona (1956)

Skip's Shotgun Shenenigans

The ironically best thing about "Thunder Over Arizona" is that whilst it may be set in the lawless town of Tombstone there is no Wyatt Earp or Doc Holiday. Now that doesn't say much for the rest of this western which basis is the familiar corrupt business man after rich land from another family. There are embellishments we have a cowboy mistaken for a hired gun but even that is familiar and in the end "Thunder Over Arizona" ends up little more than a series of familiar elements with familiar faces cropping up in familiar characters. Basically "Thunder Over Arizona" is a grade A 1950s western of the sort which got knocked out because they made a profit not because there was a great storyline to explore.

When Tim Mallory (Skip Homeier - Dakota Incident) has a run in with hired gut Shotgun Kelly (George Keymas) he ends up killing him and in possession of his shotgun. Having headed to Tombstone he finds himself mistaken for Kelly and in the midst of a battle between Mayor Plummer (George Macready) and the Warren family. The mayor wants the Warren land and had sent the legendary Kelly a telegram offering him a job, unaware that Mallory isn't the gunman he tells him what he wants and that is the Warren family dealt with. Playing along with what the Mayor wants Tim visits the Warrens and having met the attractive Fay Warren (Kristine Miller) sides with them whilst still pretending to be working for the Mayor.

Kristine Miller as Fay Warren in Thunder Over Arizona (1956)

For those who know there westerns will know that "Thunder Over Arizona" is really just a reworking of "California Firebrand" but even if you don't know this you quickly realise that this is a western built on stock elements. The first stock element is that Mayor Ervin Plummer wants the Warren land because they have a rich mine and is willing to kill to get it. The second stock element is Tim Mallory who after a run in with hired gun Shotgun Kelly ends up with his rifle and mistaken for him placing him in the middle of the Plummer Warren problem. And whilst we have Mallory going along with Plummer the truth is he is on the side of the Warren's because of the third stock element the pretty Fay Warren who he takes a shine to very quickly. And that is it; at some point Mallory's cover is blown and officially joins forces with the Warrens so we can have a big climax.

As such the storyline to "Thunder Over Arizona" is not really that compelling and little more than a journey through a lot of familiar scenes. Those familiar scenes are really just an excuse for some action be it Mallory escaping the clutches of Plummer's corrupt deputies when his cover is blown or when with the Warren's they deal with Plummer and his men as they try to take the Warren land. There is nothing really that exciting, just the same sort of solid action you will see in lots of westerns from the 50s.

And sadly that familiarity and lack of excitement extends to the stock characters and average performances. Skip Homeier is nice enough as Tim Mallory although realistically he seems to be a little too soft when he is meant to be portraying this notorious gun man. Kristine Miller as Fay is a little feisty but stereotypically beautiful which makes the cliche romantic element seem right. The best performance ends up coming from George Macready as Mayor Ervin Plummer because whilst he is not the most nefarious of corrupt men at least his character seems to have a pulse and operates at different levels of skulduggery.

What this all boils down to is that "Thunder Over Arizona" is just another 50s western of the mass produced variety. You may have never watched "Thunder Over Arizona" but the chances are you will have watched other westerns which use the exact same elements and action just with different main actors.