|Gloria Grahame and Robert Sterling|
Four ladies of ill repute have been thrown out of Aspen when they encounter Clay Phillips (Robert Sterling) and his younger brother, Steve (Claude Jarman, Jr.) on the road after their wagon breaks down. Clay agrees to take the ladies part of the way, but has to concentrate on taking some horses to his ranch in Sonora. Adding to Clay's woes is the fact that an enemy named Lednov (John Ireland) has escaped from prison with two pals and is gunning for him. Clay also can't quite disguise his disapproval of Mary (Gloria Grahame) and the rest of her companions. Roughshod is an engaging and entertaining picture with some fine performances, especially from Grahame and young Jarman, Jr., both of whom share top billing with Sterling [Bunco Squad], most famous for the TV show Topper, who gives a better performance than expected. (Sterling was handsome and talented enough to have been developed into a major movie star, but his primary credits were on television; maybe he just lacked that certain oomph.) Grahame is as delightful and adept as ever, and Jarman [Intruder in the Dust] proves to be one of the most talented child actors in Hollywood. Ireland offers a chilling portrait of the determined killer, Lednov, and there's nice work from Myrna Dell, Jeff Donnell, and Martha Hyer as the three other "show girls" in the group. Sara Haden, James Bell [Back from the Dead], and Jeff Corey score in smaller roles. There are many affecting scenes in the movie, and a highly satisfying wind-up. Joseph Biroc's cinematography is typically outstanding, and there's a flavorful score by Roy Webb.
Verdict: An unheralded gem with some fine performances. ***.