The Last Posse (1953)

  • Year: 1953
  • Released: 04 Jul 1953
  • Country: United States
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  • Available in: 720p, 1080p,
  • Language: English
  • MPA Rating: Passed
  • Genre: Western
  • Runtime: 73 min
  • Writer: Seymour Bennett, Connie Lee, Kenneth Gamet
  • Director: Alfred L. Werker
  • Cast: Broderick Crawford, John Derek, Charles Bickford
  • Keywords: posse,

The Last Posse Storyline

When the anxiously awaited posse returns with neither prisoners nor the stolen money, we learn in flashback what happened. Having been cheated by Sampson Drune, a father and his two sons have robbed him and fled. A posse led by Drune took off after them and although unwanted, the town’s drunken Sheriff joined them. The Sheriff’s influence on Jeb, the adopted son of Drune, was the key to Jed later revealing who killed Drune, the robbers, and what happened to the money.—Maurice VanAuken

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The Last Posse Movie Reviews

Great Little Western

If you love Westerns, you’ll love The Last Posse. I had never heard of it before TCM tossed it into their Broderick Crawford Day of movies. Great cast too! Not only Crawford but Henry Hull, Charles Bickford as well as Harry Hayden, an always uncredited character actor who I’ve come to notice. Much of the film takes place in the desert among some absolutely remarkable rock formations as the backdrop. Anyway, all Western Lovers should have this one on their list. I thought I’d seen just about every Western at least once so this really came as a wonderful surprise. Watch for it and enjoy! At less than 90 minutes long, it doesn’t wear out its welcome like this overlong review! Unfortunately the IMDb insists on ten lines whether or not you have something to say. OK, it finally says I wrote enough lines!

What’s he trying to do-die with his boots on?

The Last Posse is directed by Alfred L. Werker and co-written by Seymour Bennett, Connie Bennett and Kenneth Gamet. It stars Broderick Crawford, Charles Bickford, John Derek and Wanda Hendrix. Primary location used for the shoot is Lone Pine, Alabama Hills, California, with Burnett Guffey on photography duties. Out of Columbia Pictures, story tells of how a returning posse on the trail of outlaw robbers, return to Roswell, New Mexico, minus their leader and with their accompanying sheriff critically wounded.

Much better than its B movie origins, The Last Posse is strong in characterisations, visually smart and being structured as it is, primarily in flashback, also getting a bit of unusual intrigue tossed into the Oatmeal. It’s also very well acted, with Crawford and Bickford making for a nice gruff opposing pair, and the support cast is filled with solid performers like Henry Hull, Warner Anderson and Skip Homeier. Director Werker (He Walked By Night) does a good job of keeping the story nicely paced, dotting the plot with some well staged action along the way, and the finale, thankfully not telegraphed, doesn’t disappoint at all. But in the main it’s the writing and Guffey’s photography that lifts it above average. The various members of the posse are either troubled or driven by motive, making for a good psychological mix, and this in turn is well realised by Guffey’s crisp black and white photography of the Lone Pine, Alabama Hills landscapes. The numerous boulders and odd shaped rocks impose on the characters and the desert flats make a grim stage for the unfolding story.

Easily recommended to the Western movie fan. 7/10

Who Shot The Sheriff?

For those of you who like discovering unknown sleeper westerns than The Last Posse is for you. No cowboy heroes in this one just an honest sheriff doing his job and a young man who let’s his better side take over rather than live with a lie.

A posse comes in from the hunt with the bodies of the men they were hunting, the man whom these people robbed and a badly wounded Broderick Crawford who is the town sheriff. Some of the town’s leading citizens like Will Wright, Warner Anderson, Raymond Greenleaf and Tom Powers are with the posse along with the adopted son of the robbery victim Charles Bickford. It’s the son played by John Derek on whom the responsibility for the truth lies.

We hear some of the truth in flashback from the posse members. Bickford owns the local Ponderosa and he’s not a benevolent type like Ben Cartwright. In fact he’s pushed another rancher James Bell far enough. Bell and sons Guy Wilkerson and Skip Homeier rob him as he’s making a deposit of six figures. It’s Bickford who pulls a posse together and doesn’t want the sheriff along, but Crawford goes anyway.

The desert trip brings out the truth about a lot of things and Derek has to face up to a different version about his past than he’s been told. It’s not a pretty picture.

The film is in stark black and white and plays for much of the time like a noir thriller. But this B film from Columbia is a real sleeper and not to be missed by either noir or western fans.