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Western films, from silent to today

The Long Rope (1961)

The Long Rope (1961) posterYoung Jim Matthews is found dead, shot to death in the stable at the home of lovely Alicia Alvarez (Lisa Montell). Her husband Manuel is promptly tossed in jail for the murder. After all, his gun was used to commit the crime and rumors indicated Alicia and Jim were having an affair.

But Manuel insists he’s innocent and Alicia insists there was no affair. So Judge Jonas Stone (Hugh Marlowe) arrives in a small New Mexico town and begins investigating the shooting.

That doesn’t sit very well with Ben Matthews (Robert J. Wilke), Jim’s older brother. He runs this town. He figures it wouldn’t even exist if it wasn’t for his huge cattle ranch. And in his town, trials just aren’t necessary.

So while Stone sniffs around, he starts to have a gallows built, sure Alvarez will hang, one way or the other. He might even arrange it so there isn’t a trial after all.

Rating 3 out of 6Review:

Interesting whodunit of a Western with lots of characters and motives packed into its abbreviated run time.

There’s Manuel’s friend and partner Ortega, who’s in love with Alicia. There’s Alicia’s mom, bitter that her daughter didn’t marry better an angry over being forced to sell the Vega land to the Matthews, bit by bit.

Alan Hale Jr., soon to star in Gilligan’s Island, plays a sheriff who does his job most of the time, but is careful not to cross Matthews. Oh, and Ben Matthews has a hot-headed brother name Will.

Then there’s a young stranger named Red Gilroy who shows up. He plans to make his living with a gun, in spite of the judge’s warnings that those days are numbered.

Unfortunately, the film begins unraveling when the trial begins, setting the stage for a final showdown.

The movie was produced by former actress Margia Dean.

Hugh Marlowe as Judge Jonas Stone and Alan Hale Jr. as Sheriff Millard in The Long Rope (1961)Directed by:
William Whitney

Hugh Marlowe … Jonas Stone
Alan Hale Jr. … Sheriff John Millard
Robert J. Wilke … Ben Matthews
Chris Robinson … Red Gilroy
William Kerwin … Steve Matthews
Jeff Morris … Will Matthews
Lisa Montell … Alicia Alvarez
David Renard … Louis Ortega
Madeleine Taylor Holmes … Dona Vega
John A. Alonzo .. Manuel Alvarez
Jack Powers … Luke Simms
Kathryn Hart .. Mrs. Creech
Steve Welles … Jim Matthews

Runtime: 61 min.

Memorable lines:

Judge Stone; “My father always said there’d be a day when no honest man would wear a gun. They killed him to prove he was ahead of his time.”

Ben Matthews to the sheriff: “You tell the judge I’ll help anyway I can. I’ll even build the gallows to hang Alvarez.”

Judge Stone: “A new law is coming — one that works for all of the people.
Ben Matthews: “All of the people don’t count.”

Sheriff Millard, about Ben Matthews: “He wants a hanging. And he carries a long rope.”

Reb Gilroy to Judge Stone: “You talk awful big for a man walking around dead.”

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