Convict Stage (1965)

Convict Stage (1965)

  • 5.2
  • 71 mins
  • Western


Ben has been after the Sims brothers since they gunned down his sister. His wife, threatening to leave him, sees his chance to get her back and get his revenge when the brothers are captured and are to be transported to prison on the stage.—DrDOS

Short Review

"Convict Stage" qualifies as a predictable, saddle-sore, law and order sagebrusher about a revenge-driven pistolero who wants to kill the two outlaws who murdered his sister. Basically, nothing new or exciting occurs in this title-tells-all oater. Seasoned character actor Harry Lauter received top billing over former B-movie western hero Don 'Red' Barry. "Convict Stage" is only for die-hard frontier movie fans who want to round up as many westerns as they can. Neither the presence of veteran western director Lesley Selander nor on location lensing in Kanab, Utah, is enough to make this dreary outdoor adventure captivating. This lumbering, loquacious, low-budget western opens with two young trigger-happy outlaws, Jeb Sims (Joe Patridge of "The Hypnotic Eye") and Johnny Sims (Eric Matthews of "End of August"), appropriating the strong box from a stagecoach at gunpoint that they have halted in the middle of nowhere. Not only do the Sims brothers gun down in cold blood the driver as well as the shotgun messenger, but they also blast a defenseless woman in the back as she scrambles on foot into the sagebrush to escape from them. As Beth Lattimore sprawls face down in the dust, she scrawls their names in the sand before she dies. As it turns out, this unfortunate woman was related to a natty, notorious gunslinger, Ben Lattimore (seasoned character actor Harry Lauter of "Posse From Hell"), and Ben vows to catch up with their sorry, no-account carcasses and kill them. He pursues the Sims across the desert, but their rifle-toting mother bushwhacks him on the trail. This turn of events seems rather contrived since she shows up out of the blue to help from boys. She makes the same mistake, however, that her homicidal sons' made when they failed to finish off Beth Lattimore. Ben catches two slugs in the arm, but he survives her ambush. Initially, she thought that her two boys were in the clear and could take care of themselves. Nevertheless, Marshal Jethro Karnin (Don "Red" Barry of "Shalako") gets the drop on the Sims as they are sleeping comfortably curled up around a campfire. He assures them that they were fortunate that he found them rather than Lattimore. Later, Jethro has the onerous task of taking the Sims boys to the territorial prison in Prescott, Arizona, aboard a stagecoach. The bulk of this dreary yarn takes place on the trail as the marshal rides inside the stagecoach with the villainous Sims brothers and forces the two female passengers, Sally (Jodi Mitchell) and Mrs. Gregory (Hanna Landy of "Diamond Safari") to ride atop the vehicle with the driver and a Native American guard Piute (Michael Carr of "War Party"). What the cautious lawman doesn't realize is that the mother of the Sims boys is masquerading as an old lady bound to see her daughter who is about to deliver a baby. She packs two six-shooters out of sight in her petticoat and patiently waits for the opportunity to whip them out. Meanwhile, Mrs. Sims' man, Adam Scott (George Sawaya of "Embryo"), leads a group of gunmen ahead of the stagecoach. They wipe out everybody at the stagecoach relay station where our heroes will have to swap out their horses for fresh replacements. Afterward, they blow up a bridge across the river so the stagecoach driver, Dixon (Fred Kone of "The Love Bug") has to take another road when they arrive at the river and discover that the bridge has been blown up. About the same time that the marshal realizes they have to change their plans, Ben shows up. The horses are worn out so the driver cannot turn back. Reluctantly, the marshal agrees with Ben that they should hole up in a ghost town named Calico and wait for Scott and his army of gunmen. Ironically, during the shoot-out, Ben's pacifist wife Sally shoots Scott after Jethro is wounded. Mrs. Sims swings her gun on Sally, but Jethro drills her dead to rights with a single shot. Ben wings Johnny in a fair fight and a wounded Jeb decides to give up. "Convict Stage" concludes with the Sims boys back inside the stagecoach with a recovering Jethro and Piute guarding them with a shotgun.Veteran western director Lesley Selander, who helmed over a 100 movies, most of them westerns, brings nothing dynamic to this prefabricated horse opera. Surprisingly enough, "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" scribe Daniel Mainwaring penned this routine outing. Ben Lattimore proves that he is not a sadistic gunslinger but a man who lives by a code. Ben's wife, who had left him because of his gun-toting ways, takes up a six-gun to help them out. Selander manages to keep the action moving forward during its 71-minute running time, but more often than not the mouths of the thespians are the only things moving as they deliver hackneyed exposition. This undistinguished, black & white sagebrusher from 20th Century Fox must have filled out the bottom half of a twin bill for a drive-in theater. Selander doesn't generate any more excitement than Mainwaring conjures up memorable dialogue.


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