On the day of his wedding, retiring lawman Will Kane (Cooper) must face a gang of criminals, headed by a vicious gunman he put aways several years ago, now released. Refusing to run from the situation, Kane is deserted by the townsfolk he has defended, to face the gang's arrival on the noon train.
The term "psychological Western" has become something of a cliche. If you had to label Fred Zinnemann's masterpiece, it should be called a neo-realist Western on account of the understated performances and Floyd Crosby's stark imagery.
Written as a rejoinder to that pro-witchhunt parable, On The Waterfront, this treatise on fidelity to principle is told in real time to add to the suspense and boasts a performance of rare grit and dignity by the finest lawman of them all, Gary Cooper.
Look out for a young Lloyd bridges as a no-good, and the Oscar winning theme song "Do not forsake me, Oh My Darlin'" is indeed the inspiration for the theme of the townsfolk in Blazing Saddles.
Deserving of its label as a true classic, and essential viewing.