Former marshal Will Kane (Gary Cooper) is preparing to leave the small town of Hadleyville, New Mexico, with his new bride, Amy (Grace Kelly), when he learns that local criminal Frank Miller has been set free and is coming to seek revenge on the marshal who turned him in.
When he starts recruiting deputies to fight Miller, Kane is discouraged to find that the people of Hadleyville turn cowardly when the time comes for a showdown, and he must face Miller and his cronies alone.
OSCAR RACE 1952
Best Actor in a Leading Role – Gary Cooper
Best Film Editing – Elmo Williams and Harry W. Gerstad
Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture – Dimitri Tiomkin
Best Music, Song – Dimitri Tiomkin and Ned Washington for “Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darlin’”, sung by Tex Ritter
The final showdown
Amongst the many qualities of this controversial western, there is the clarity of a visual storytelling design to build up tension and suspence.
See below examples of framing patterns and motifs.
Framing the passage of time
The railway and the bad guys waiting
The waiting montage
The Arrival and Shoot out
The hypocrisies of a good town