Cave Of Outlaws

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"The mystery of the great Wells Fargo robbery !"
  • Passed
  • 1951
  • 1 hr 16 min
  • 5.9  (364)

Cave Of Outlaws is an exceptional Western movie, released in 1951, directed by William Castle, and starring Macdonald Carey, Alexis Smith, and Edgar Buchanan. This film perfectly showcases the classic Hollywood western style, complete with action-packed horseback chases, gun battles, and rugged scenery. The movie opens with a daredevil band of outlaws threatening to rob the bank in the frontier town of Bradenville, New Mexico. Sheriff Les Martin (Macdonald Carey) and his posse are seriously outmanned, and when one of the outlaws is revealed as one of Les’ jail escapees, tensions flare and forces him to deal with more complications than he anticipated. Moreover, the main antagonist, Sam Teeler (Victor Jory), who leads the gang, has an extra edge, as he has stashed his loot deep inside a massive man-made cave system of the region, called “The Devil's Doorstep,” an intricate underground system that proves so difficult to navigate and sets the scene for the outlaws' final showdown.

As the outlaws attempt to hide their loot in the caves, Les and his posse are trying to capture them. However, despite their persistence and bravery, the posse’s plan is hindered when Les is injured in a horseback pursuit, and they are forced to regroup and reassess their strategy. After Les falls for the owner of the town's hotel, Caroline (Alexis Smith), Claire Trevor’s character, a former gang member turned informer, gives Les some important information about the caves, which could help in capturing the outlaws.

The first half of the movie follows traditional Western genre tropes, with chase scenes, shoot-outs and close calls, as the outlaws strategize their next moves while the posse follows their tracks. The second half, however, takes an intriguing turn, as the location shifts to the unique underground cave system. It is fascinating how this rush to grab the loot suddenly goes from a hail of gunfire to a slow-burn with a game of cat and mouse in the dark with the added element of shadows, stalagmites and blind turns around every corner. It's a fitting destination for a film like this, and it gives the hunting scenes an added layer of tension and claustrophobia.

The rugged landscapes of New Mexico are breathtaking, and the cave setting is a fresh change to an otherwise typical Western film. The Cave of Outlaws also boasts a well-written storyline, emphasizing the importance of second chances and redemption, with all the characters thrust into difficult moral dilemmas.

Macdonald Carey shines as the hero, Les Martin, who believes in the law above all else, yet he is not afraid to go outside of the law to do what he believes is right. Carey's charming and confident portrayal of Les is essential to the movie, and he maintains a classic Hollywood toughness, whether in a bar-room brawl, a horse chase or in a dialogue exchange.

Alexis Smith is also superb as Caroline, the owner of the town’s only hotel. She elevates the female character archetype from the traditional damsel in distress to a nuanced, confident and witty character who genuinely challenges the men around her. It is refreshing to see this kind of character in a genre that is usually dominated by machismo.

Edgar Buchanan's character of 'Pop' Keith, Les’ sidekick, provides some light-hearted moments, as well as a moment of genuine emotion that brings some depth to the character. He also represents the movie’s theme of redemption, as he admits to his cowardice in a previous encounter and makes up for it by bravely standing up to the outlaws.

In summary, Cave Of Outlaws is an exciting and original Western film that never loses its focus on morality and redemption. It also benefits from the stunning New Mexican landscapes and the unique cave setting that brings a refreshing fluidity of pace and scenery to the film. Carey's strong performance as the hero, along with Smith's confident and sharp portrayal of Caroline, is definitely a highlight of this movie. The second half of the movie leaning heavily on suspense escalates the tension as the characters enter the dark, dangerous labyrinth of The Devil's Doorstep, adding an element of unpredictability that the audience wouldn't typically expect from a Western. It's a classic western that does not disappoint but instead goes deeper and takes the audience on an unexpected and fascinating adventure.

Cave Of Outlaws
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 16 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    5.9  (364)