The Tall T

Tagline : Taut! Torrid! Tremendous! T Is for Terror!

Runtime : 78 mins

Genre : Western

Vote Rating : 6.9/10

Reviews for this movie are available below.

Plot : A pair of newlyweds, a ranch foreman, and their stagecoach driver are held up by a trio of outlaws who kidnap the woman after learning that she is heir to a rich man.

Cast Members

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This had both an excellent cast and was exciting from start to finish. I was curious about it when I saw it at #55 in my highly recommended copy of 'The Editors of American Cowboy Magazine's The Top 100 Western Movies of All Time'. Before I saw this, I had only seen a few of the Westerns Boetticher made with Randolph Scott; I had no other experience with the director. But this is marvelous--top-tier alongside the similarly great 'Buchanan Rides Alone'. I noticed in the comments section that others noted the short running time, and that there wasn't an ounce of fat on the film. They're right. The vast majority of filmmakers today could easily learn a thing or two from watching these fine collaborations. It was very weird for me, after seeing the gorgeous Maureen O'Sullivan star in the daringly sexually provocative pre-Code 'Tarzan and His Mate' be considered by her co-stars here, 23 years later, a very plain-looking old maid, and it was both bizarre (since when I have seen him in these 50's Westerns, he hasn't really been the romancing type) and awesome seeing Randolph Scott take a shining to her on her wedding night (to another man, lol!). Oh, to be alive and make films in that fine filmmaking era!

T for Taut! Pat Brennan loses his horse in a bet and is forced to hit the trail on foot. Thinking his luck has turned, he manages to hitch a ride on a stagecoach carrying newlyweds, the Mims'. However, his luck is short lived as the stagecoach is held up by three hot headed outlaws who are surprised to find that this isn't the stagecoach they were hoping to rob. Things take a dastardly turn when the thieves learn that Doretta Mims is the daughter of a wealthy copper mine owner, sensing an opportunity for ransom the thieves start to make plans, but do they really think Brennan is going to sit by and watch this happen? And can he outwit three deadly men all on his own? Based on the Elmore Leonard story, The Captive, The Tall T is a smashing and suspenseful Western brought to us by the excellent director/actor team of Budd Boetticher and Randolph Scott. Not without humour either, it's however a serious psychological piece that looks at the complexities of the good and bad characters struggling amidst the sprawling Western backdrop. What sticks out here as a real positive is that Brennan is clearly not the stronger man as opposed to his captors, led by the fearsome Usher (a wonderful Richard Boone), the trio of outlaws are leaner and more devil may care, but have they got the wits that Brennan possesses? This is the key issue in this picture, and it certainly begs for more scrutiny. The Tall T has garnered something of a cult following over the years, since Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven reignited interest in "Adult Westerns", it has thankfully been reappraised by critics and Western fans alike, the result is a resounding thumbs up. 8.5/10

_**Well done 50’s Western with Randolph Scott, Richard Boone and Maureen O'Sullivan**_ A former ranch ramrod (Randolph Scott) and members of a stagecoach in the Southwest (e.g. Maureen O'Sullivan) are threatened by a trio of ruthless killers (Richard Boone, Henry Silva and Skip Homeier). “The Tall T” (1957) is a quality 50’s Western with likable Randolph Scott in the heroic role. It has achieved a sort of cult status as the prime example of a classic Boetticher-Scott Western. The original story was written by Elmore Leonard, which explains the movie’s similarities to the later “Hombre” (1967), not to mention Boone appears in both as the chief outlaw. There are also parallels to Scott’s “Hangman’s Knot” (1952), which was shot in the same area and shares some story elements. I didn’t recognize Maureen O'Sullivan of Tarzan fame, 23 years after her physical prime in “Tarzan and His Mate” (1934). While the script keeps having the male characters refer to her as a “plain” or “old maid,” she’s obviously fit and still alluring in the second half with her hair down. In truth, most men in the Old West would kill to gain the attentions of such a woman. The film is taut at 1 hour, 18 minutes, and was shot at Alabama Hills, Lone Pine, California. GRADE: B+/A-

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