LINDA DARNELL is top billed in DAKOTA INCIDENT (Republic), but DALE ROBERTSON is the star.
The film opens with three riders on the range after robbing a bank. Two of them,SKIP HOMEIER and JOHN DOUCETTE decide a two- way split is better than three,and Dale Robertson is shot down and his horse killed.
Dale survives and comes after them. He walks forty miles to the nearest town where a disparate group of people await the stage to Laramie.

There’s Linda Darnell and REGIS TOOMEY, a singer and her accompanist; WARD BOND, a senator from Washington preaching that the white man and the Indian must come together; WHIT BISSELL is an Easterner who thinks he has struck gold; and there’s the mysterious JOHN LUND (who doesn’t get any dialogue for the first twenty minutes of the film.)

So that’s the set-up. Before the stage takes off,Robertson deals with his two ‘partners’,one of whom (Homeier) turns out to be his brother.)
We learn Lund was the teller at the bank Robertson robbed and that Lund was blamed for the robbery and now wants to bring Robertson back to prove his innocence.

Lots happen as they take off for Laramie – the Indians are on the war path and not everybody is going to survive.

A good plot with touches of STAGECOACH and ESCAPE FROM FORT BRAVO.
Dale Robertson is one of these actors, like BEN JOHNSON, who looks completely natural in a western setting. My only problem is his persona is so stoic – even when his brother betrays him and is then killed,there’s little reaction.
We get fire and brimstone from Ward Bond, but I would have liked someone like STEPHEN MCNALLY  in the mix to provide a contrast – and, of course,more conflict.
It’s a tense drama, but sometimes, some of the dialogue brings the story to a dead halt. It’s in bright Trucolor, but I think black and white would have added to the tension.

At 90 minutes, I’d have trimmed it by 15 or 20 minutes. As much as I like Linda Darnell, her character is subsidiary and wouldn’t have been missed ( though she did look spectacular in the flaming red dress she wears throughout!)


11 responses »

  1. Wow, that’s my kinda cast. Love Bond, Toomey, Darnell and Lund. 🙂 I happen to have this in my viewing stack, too! Just didn’t realize there were so many faves in the cast.

    Thanks for the review!

    Best wishes,

  2. Great post Vienna,and what a lovely reproduction of
    the most interesting poster (press ad?).
    I really wish the Warner Archive controlled the Republic
    back catalog so we could see films like this turn up on DVD.
    I too really like Stephen McNally and really want to get
    STAND AT APACHE RIVER just released in France but with
    those horrid “forced” subtitles that we all hate so much.
    Message to Laura: did you note that the Warner Archive have
    up for pre-order FBI CODE 98 with Jack Kelly,I know you are a
    huge fan. (me too!) Film was a busted TV pilot released to cinemas
    and also stars Ray Danton, (who I also really like) and Phil Carey.
    Really,really excited about that one!
    Sorry to hi-jack your blog Vienna,hope thats OK.

  3. Many thanks Vienna,
    STAND AT APACHE RIVER (which also features Jack Kelly)
    is OK,but I prefer the other Universal Western where McNallly
    had the leading role,WYOMING MAIL.
    I am really looking forward to FBI CODE 98 because its so rare
    to have a film where Jack Kelly has the leading role.

  4. Another one for my list – I had never heard of WYOMING MAIL, but I like that cast and it is good to get Stephen McNally as a good guy for a change.
    I wonder if Lyle Bettger ever got to play the hero.

  5. That’s an excellent cast and the whole setup sounds intriguing to say the least. You know, I share your problem with Robertson. He was a natural in physical terms for westerns, and always seemed to handle the action scenes just fine. But yes, he was too stoic to play the more dramatic stuff in a satisfying way.

  6. I haven’t really seen many of Dale’s westerns but I do remember enjoying TV’s TALES OF WELLS FARGO.
    It is a good cast and quite a reasonable story.

  7. Good question Vienna;did Lyle Bettger ever play
    the “good” guy.The closet I can come up with is
    THE CARNIVAL STORY (1954) made in Germany.
    Most interesting cast,apart from Bettger;Anne Baxter,Steve Cochran,
    George Nader and Jay c Flippen. Cochran is the nasty one in this
    film,although its one I have not seen.
    Regarding Dale Robertson I thought he was very impressive playing
    darker characters in a couple of excellent Westerns;THE SILVER

  8. I also notice that Sidonis in France have just announced
    WYOMING MAIL as a July release.As you probably know their
    DVDs have “forced” subtitles that you cannot remove using
    your DVD remote.This is really annoying as I really want that film.
    Sometimes,but not always the Sidonis titles turn up on a label called
    Llamentol in Spain.

  9. Think you are right , probably only CARNIVAL STORY ,though Bettger appeared in a 1951 film I’ve never seen called FIRST LEGION (directed by Douglas Sirk ), in which he plays a doctor. So maybe he was a good guy in that.
    Amazing to think Lyle Bettger only started in films at the age of 35 in 1950. – and immediately established the persona of the smiling villain in NO MAN OF HER OWN and UNION STATION that year.
    I’ll watch out for the two Dale Robertson westerns you listed, both new to me.
    I didn’t know till recently that some foreign discs had permanent subtitles.

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