Buchanan Rides Alone

Director: Budd Boetticher
Year Released: 1958
Rating: 2.0

Gun-for-hire Tom Buchanan (Randolph Scott) makes the mistake of stopping in a corrupt town on the U.S.-Mexico border for a steak and some shut-eye and finds himself in the middle of a murder scene, in which Juan De La Vega (Manuel Rojas) kills Roy (William Leslie), son of Judge Simon Agry (Tol Avery) - they both get arrested and put on trial and then Tom has to save the kid.  It plays out in a brisk and workman-like manner - running at a trim 80 minutes - but there are entirely too many writerly "tricks" and perplexing decisions on behalf of several of the characters that cheapen the final product - I spent too much time trying to make sense of what they were thinking.  It certainly couldn't be from indulging in too much liquor: at $10 a bottle, everyone was most likely sober.