I was sorry to hear that L.Q.Jones (1927-2022) had passed away . I always remember him in the Randolph Scott western, “Buchanan Rides Alone”.(1958)
Born Justus McQueen, L.Q. took his screen name from the character he played in his first film, “Battle Cry”(1955).
Randolph Scott plays Tom Buchanan ,an army mercenary who has left Mexico after making enough money to return to his home in West Texas and buy a ranch .
He rides into the border town of Agry – where everything costs $10 – a whisky, a steak, a hotel room.
The town is run by the Agry family – the town sheriff is Lew Agry (Barry Kelley) ,the only judge in town is Simon Agry (Tol Avery) and the brother who’s not so smart, Amos is played by Peter Whitney.
And there is Abe Carbo ( Craig Stevens), the well groomed enforcer for the judge.
Buchanan makes three mistakes- he rides into Agry; he has a money belt containing $2000: and he helps a young Mexican, ‘Juan de la Vega’ (Manuel Rojas).
There is never going to be justice for either of them. The judge and the sheriff plot against each other. Buchanan is relieved of his money and rather than hang the Mexican for a killing, the judge sends a ransom request to the Mexican’s well off family.
L.Q. Jones , as ‘Pecos’, along with Don C.Harvey ( as ‘Lafe’) are hired guns for the duplicitous sheriff. Pecos and Lafe are sent to kill Buchanan but Pecos can’t do it as he is also from West Texas. So he shoots Lafe instead!
Pesos speaks over Lafe’s grave. ( they are looking up because the body is hitched onto to the top branches of a tree.)
Pecos: “I’m sorry it was me who stopped your clock….when it come down to choosing between you and Buchanan, well, I just had to choose Buchanan on account of he’s a West Texan.”
A good shoot-out at the end of the film. I’d have liked Craig Stevens to have more screen time.
One feels Carbo has been biding his time. Agrytown is getting a new boss, I expect its name will change.
At the end of the film, Carbo to Buchanan:
“I’d advise you not to stay here. Like you say, this is my town now.”
Buchanan replies: “Mr. Carbo, you can have it.”
Carbo gets the last line: “Don’t just stand there, Amos, get a shovel.”
Like his character in “The Tall T”, Scott as Buchanan has no dark history, no scores to settle. He simply picked the wrong town to pass through on his way home.
A better ending would have been Buchanan and Pecos riding out together. Instead Buchanan rides out alone.
Unusually, there is no romantic interest for Buchanan. But the film moves along so well, a female lead wasn’t missed.
I liked Manuel Rojas (1926-1997) as the young Mexican. According to IMDB he was married to Martha Vickers for ten years. He only made a few movies.
A Scott-Brown production, directed by Budd Boetticher, with locations in Tucson, Arizona.
L.Q.Jones was active in Hollywood, films and TV, from the 1950s through to 2006. He appeared in Randolph Scott’s last western, RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY (1962), but playing a far less likeable character and no friend of Scott.