Crazy in Colorado
Consider when "The Man from Colorado" was made, it was 1948 and soldiers had returned home from World War II changed by what they did and what they saw. As such there were some war movies made which took a look at the situation of the stress they suffered because of war and "The Man from Colorado" is a clever variation on the theme taking us back to 1865 and the end of the American Civil war. Now I wouldn't say for a minute that "The Man from Colorado" is a really in-depth look at the way war can affect a man but at the same time despite being a western I wouldn't call it just a western either. It walks an interesting middle ground with elements of a western but a focus more on the characters than the action and of course romance which was always part of the genre.
As the Civil War ebbs its way to an end Col. Owen Devereaux (Glenn Ford - The Desperadoes) and his men come across a small and tired group of Confederate soldiers who with the white flag waving surrender not that Devereaux cares as he orders them to be fired upon something which shocks his friend Capt. Del Stewart (William Holden - When Time Ran Out...) who finds the white flag after the event. After they both leave service Devereaux is appointed a judge something which concerns Stewart who whilst being appointed a Federal marshal fears his friend is losing it. With Devereaux's behaviour becoming increasingly wild Stewart finds himself inevitably coming to blows with his long time friend.
Now watched as a western "The Man from Colorado" does have some of those elements you would expect as the story unfolds with old friends finding themselves at war with each other. As Stewart witnesses Devereaux's irrational behaviour especially when it comes to the hanging of an innocent man he finds himself siding with those who are forced to break the law because inevitably a local businessman has stolen their land. As I said there are those standard western elements and those include a love triangle as Stewart and Devereaux are both sweet on the pretty Caroline played by the attractive Ellen Drew. In a way "The Man from Colorado" writes itself and you know that inevitably Stewart and Devereaux are going to end up coming to blows.
But these traditional western elements provide the back bone for the interesting idea of Devereaux being psychologically damaged by war making him an irrational and dangerous man. And what this paves the way for is a brilliant performance from Glenn Ford who going against types brings to life the deranged and paranoid mind of Devereaux. Ford is aided by a good supporting cast with William Holden ending up playing second fiddle as it is Ford's wild eyes and moments of irrational and deadly behaviour which make the movie, well that and the stunning colour which is unusual for a 1940's movie.
What this all boils down to is that "The Man from Colorado" is an interesting western which combines many traditional western elements but also explores the idea of a man who ends up psychologically damaged by war.