George Montgomery in Robbers' Roost (1955)

The Man with a Hidden Agenda

Jim "Tex" Wall (George Montgomery) is a man with a hidden agenda, he is after the men who raped his wife and stole his horses and nothing will stop him. When he arrives in a small town he joins up with a group of cattle rustlers lead by Hank Hays (Richard Boone) who are in constant battle with rival rustlers lead by Heesman (Peter Graves). But these two gangs find themselves in the unusual position of having been hired by recently crippled rancher "Bull" Herrick (Bruce Bennett) who figures they will be too busy making sure the others don't get a jump on them that they won't be interested in stealing his cattle. But it brings Tex in to contact with Herrick's younger sister Helen (Sylvia Findley) who whilst opposed to her brother's plans falls for Tex until she discovers a wanted poster with his face on it.

If you gave a cook eggs, butter, flour and milk and asked them to back a cake they could come up with a few variations but they would all end up a little similar. It is the same with some movies especially westerns of the 1950s as many ended up similar and frankly forgettable because they use the same sort of elements and the same actors. Robbers' Roost is one of those movies because from George Montgomery as the hero looking for justice to Sylvia Findley as the love interest it is all pretty typical of the genre. It also doesn't help matters that Zane Grey's novel from which this is adapted had already been made in to a western back in 1932.

Sylvia Findley in Robbers' Roost (1955)

As such "Robbers' Roost" doesn't take a lot of reviewing as this is one of those westerns which wants to trade on tension. We have the tension of the rival gangs working for the same boss, the tension of Tex having his hidden agenda whilst stuck in the middle, the sexual tension (if you can call it that) with Helen who in turn has tension with another man who wants to marry her and is willing to bale out her brother when it comes to the ranch's debts. The trouble is that whilst you can see that the tension is there its familiarity prevents it from really coming to life.

But the blandness of "Robbers' Roost" is not the only problem as this has the look of a mass produced western, the sort which were churned out on a fair budget but the focus was more on just getting the movie made rather than on delivering something special. As such not only does "Robbers' Roost" lack any really stunning action but director Sidney Salkow doesn't really capture the magnificent outside spaces, in fact Salkow struggles to capture the appeal of the actors with George Montgomery coming across particularly bland.

What this all boils down to is that even if it wasn't a remake "Robbers' Roost" is one of those seen it all before movies. There is nothing terrible about it but it is a case that it constantly struggles to be average.