Dam Those Cattle Men
Brothers Mike (Rod Cameron) and Tim McCall (Don Castle) own a large ranch in Arizona and have used the surrounding land to graze their cattle. But times have changed and businessmen Stanley Cox (John Eldredge) and LeRoy Stanton (Donald Curtis) have sold that land to settlers including John Dawson (Steve Clark) and his daughter Connie (Gale Storm). But there is a problem as the land they have sold is dry due to a dam on the McCall ranch. Things start to get messy when not only does Tim fall for Connie but LeRoy Stanton sets about blowing up the dam one way or another even if he has to kill to do it.
"Stampede" tells a familiar storyline as on one hand we have Mike McCall who built himself a cattle empire the hard way and is opposed to change when it comes to homesteaders not only moving in on the land he uses but also putting up fences. On the other we have the homesteaders who are determined to make a go of it on the land they have parted their hard earned cash on and need the water which Tim has blocked off on his land. It is familiar enough but has an extra story element involving a corrupt businessman who is willing to do the dirty work to sort out the water issue and if he had his way get rid of the McCall's once and for all.
The thing is that whilst "Stampede" is a much more elaborate movie that many a Lesley Selander western was with more story and character depth than you would normally get and feels like a western made with intent rather than just being another one of those factory line quickies it still ends up just reworking familiar themes and delivering familiar characters with equally familiar actors doing what hey had done in other westerns. It almost feels a bit like someone took a couple of those factory line quickie westerns with similar stories and combined them to make "Stampede" that little bit more elaborate, throwing a bigger budget at it at the same time.
What this all boils down to is that whilst "Stampede" is a solid and in truth entertaining western from the late 1940s it doesn't really stand out from the crowd. Instead it stands out when you compare it to earlier Lesley Selander westerns and feels like a movie made with a bit more passion about it rather than just another job.