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Canyon Passage (1946):
Dana Andrews -- in one of the best performances of his career -- plays Logan Stuart, a bold, ambitious general store and freight company owner based in the mining settlement of Jacksonville, OR, in 1856. He and his best friend, local banker and express company owner George Camrose (Brian Donlevy), share an attraction for young, beautiful Lucy Overmire (Susan Hayward). However, that's all the two men share -- Stuart sees life in the Oregon territory as a challenge, to be worked out and overcome with thought and time, with the opportunity to build something lasting and significant in the process. Camrose only sees the opportunity to get rich fast and live easy, and he's addicted to gambling at the local saloon. What no one knows is that he's been doing his gambling with the gold dust that the miners have left on deposit in his vault -- and he's been losing.

Kansas Raiders (1950):
Having previously played Billy the Kid, Audie Murphy assumes the role of Jesse James in Kansas Raiders. The plot finds Jesse and his brother Frank (Richard Long), together with the Younger Brothers (James Best, John Kellogg and Tony Curtis -- yes, Tony Curtis) joining Quantrill's Raiders. Idolizing Quantrill (Brian Donlevy), Jesse believes that his hero's mission -- to save the Confederacy by sacking Kansas -- is just. Only when it is too late does Jesse discover that Quantrell is little more than a bloodthirsty mercenary.

Lawless Breed (1952):
The Lawless Breed is based on the exploits of Texas bad man John Wesley Hardin, played here quite convincingly by Rock Hudson. The film takes the Cecil B. DeMille approach of condemning evil by showing as much evil as the censor will allow. After nearly an hour of unrepentant perfidy, Hardin settles down to marry good woman Julie Adams. In middle age, he determines to steer his son clear of outlawry, resulting in a sentimental but non-maudlin finale.

Texas Rangers (1936):
Made with the full cooperation of the real-life Texas Rangers (who never met a publicity gimmick they didn't like), this sprawling historical western stars Fred MacMurray as Jim Hawkins, one of three outlaws working the Lone Star State in the years following the Civil War. Both Hawkins and his partner in crime Wahoo Jones (Jack Oakie) decide to go straight, but their bandit pal Sam McGee (Lloyd Nolan) has not quite seen the light. Eventually, Jim and Wahoo join the fledgling Texas Rangers, an organization dedicated to bringing law, order and honest government to their state, while McGee cuts a swath of terror with his new gang. When the two reformed outlaws are assigned to bring in their old friend Sam, Jim balks but Wahoo accepts. In the film's most talked-about scene, McGee smilingly puts a hole through Wahoo's stomach with a gun he has hidden under a table. Now motivated by revenge (although he couldn't say as much in a post-Production Code film), Jim vows to bring McGee to justice, dead or alive, but preferably the former.

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MC33112 Classic Western Roundup Volume 1 DVD $26.98