Love triangles meet with old school Westerns in Black Horse Canyon…
An old school 50’s Western which has its heart set on romance over pistols is a nice variation on the tried and tested formula. And whilst Black Horse Canyon does give us a bad guy to root against, a couple of brawls to watch and the odd gun shot to give it the true genre feel, the real driving force of the film is the relationships between a youthful, naive rancher, his surrogate father (also a rancher) and the beautiful woman who comes between them. The characters are certainly ones we have seen before, but the warm script and solid leading performances give the film its heartbeat.
Telling the simple story of those who compete to capture a wild-spirited stallion who routinely escapes capture allows the plot to give us a tale of friendship and romance which doesn’t push us too hard nor particularly challenge the status-quo. Not that it needs to do so; this is a nice, often humorously observed look at three people and the world in which they live. It gains an extra feather in its cap too with its memorable cast; Joel McCrea as the older rancher who brings a worldly-wise demeanor mixed with good humour to the role, Race Gentry succeeds as the impassioned younger man and Mari Blanchard sparkles as the love interest who thankfully has a far more interesting purpose in the film than simply being eye-candy. She proves to be just as tough, resourceful and intelligent as the men in the film (if not more so) in a role which could so easily have been written less progressively.
If you’re a fan of Westerns and haven’t seen this one then check it out, it doesn’t do anything radical but it’s good fun and holds its own amongst other genre pictures of the time.
Black Horse Canyon is available on DVD in the UK today (18th April), will you be checking it out? Let us know in the comment box below!