Back in the mid-1900s, Western movies were a dime a dozen, and they were a lot like pizza: even when it’s bad it’s still decent.
Legendary film noir and western director Joseph H. Lewis’s final film of his historic film career is this 1958 western. His 41st film features Johnny Carle (Ned Young), who plays the bad ass gunslinger dressed all in black with two pistols hanging from his side. He is a gun for hire who has come to dusty Prairie City to work for old friend and lucrative, not to mention illegal, hotel owner McNeil (Sebastian Cabot). McNeil wants to take over and own the town and will get it at all costs. He sends out Johnny to scare the town folks and take over the farmers land. If the farmers won’t give up their land, they will meet the business end of Johnny’s six shooter.
When immigrant and former whaler Sven Hansen (Ted Stanhope) stands up to Johnny, refusing to give up his farm, he is soon buried on it. Sven’s son George (Sterling Hayden) rolls into town after sailing the globe, also as a whaler, to help his father with the farm. He is greeted with the news of his father and finds it disturbing no one is doing anything about it. George takes matter into his own hands, befriending his father’s neighbor, who saw Sven get shot down. Eventually the truth comes out, but when Sven’s neighbor is the next to meet the wrath of Johnny and McNeil, George has enough and serves his own justice with his father’s whale harpoon.
The plot of “Terror in a Texas Town” (for the first time on Blu-Ray) was the standard for this era, but it is a solid little film with a standout performance from Sterling Hayden. You can’t help but cheer for the immigrant who is so driven to find truth and justice. As in most westerns, good wins out of evil in a small cowboy town.