Mountains and broad clouds in a blue sky make a great photographic difference between one Western film and another, and so we have the Henry Hathaway piece from 1958, From Hell to Texas, looking more handsome than his piece from 1969, True Grit. Both, however, are knowingly directed and edited, notwithstanding True Grit contains the better tale. Hell, even so, is no hell to sit through as it tells of a cordial saddle tramp (Don Murray) who is weary of being treated like, well, a nineteenth century black man. He is being chased by an unjust accuser (R.G. Armstrong), convinced that Murray murdered the man’s feisty son and not that the whippersnapper fell on his own knife. A fine gun handler, Murray has nevertheless never killed a man until he shoots down a paid swine. It isn’t something he would ever get used to.
It’s an agreeable Western with some dandy personalities, such as those of Armstrong and Chill Wills, even though more vitality springs up when Jay C. Flippen (as Jake Leffertfinger) is on screen than when anyone else is. It makes From Hell to Texas pretty robust.