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Six Black Horses (1962), Brief Details and Film Review

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Six Black Horses
Six Black Horses

After losing his horse in the middle of a scrubland desert Ben Lane, played by Audie Murphy, comes across a small group of horses which he thinks are wild or strays. He manages to rope one with the intention of riding on his way but almost immediately he is confronted by a group of aggressive farmers who claim the string of horses belongs to them. In their opinion Ben is guilty of horse stealing so they set about trying to hang him. At this moment Frank Jesse, a ruthless and sentimental gunfighter played by Dan Duryea, appears on the scene and manages to stop the lynching with the aid of a shotgun. Lane and Jesse then hurry on their way to the nearest town called Perdido. There they meet a beautiful and mysterious woman called Kelly, played by Joan O'Brien, who is not what she seems.

Kelly persuades Ben and Frank to escort her to Santa Rita across hostile and dangerous Indian territory to be reunited with her husband in return for a payment of $1,000 each. She claims she wants to surprise her husband in Santa Rita but, in reality, Kelly is setting up Jesse because she believes he deliberately killed her husband in a shootout some time ago. Ben and Frank want the money so they accept the job and make an immediate start. Just before they leave Perdido two gunmen try and kill Frank Jesse but fail after Ben and Frank shoot back. It is not known why they wanted to kill Frank.

Ben, Frank and Kelly set out on horseback from Perdido knowing it is a long and dangerous journey to Santa Rita. As they travel, Kelly attempts to seduce Ben and offers him the money promised to Frank. Ben is tempted because he dreams of getting his own ranch and stock one day but his loyalty to Frank prevails. Not long after, they are discovered and chased across the desert by marauding Indians and take refuge in an abandoned and ruined Mission station. During the subsequent shootout with the Indians Kelly gets wounded by a spear just as she was about to shoot Frank Jesse herself. Laying there wounded in the shoulder she finally tells Ben that her husband is already dead, killed by Frank Jesse, and that she wants him killed for revenge.

Six Black Horses is an entertaining western with great performances from the leading actors and the supporting cast, and is not the first time that Audie Murphy and Dan Duryea worked successfully together. As before, though, it's really Dan Duryea who steals the show with his great, likeable bad-man character.

Film and Movie Information

Six Black Horses was released by Universal Pictures in 1962 and was directed by Harry Keller. The prncipal stars were Audie Murphy and Dan Duryea. The movie was filmed in Eastmancolor in Utah, USA.

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