A Clint and a Bear
After Marshall Jim Cole (Clint Walker) is left some land in Wyoming when a relative passes away he hands in his lawman's badge in the Utah territory and with his family and former deputy Sam (Don Haggerty) makes the journey to start a new life away from trouble. But it seems that trouble follows Jim around as not only does he find one of his new neighbours, Jed Curry (Keenan Wynn), trying to force him of the land so that his own sons can have it but there is also a big grizzly known as 'Satan' in the area. Turning a negative in to a positive Cole decides to hunt the bear down to claim the $750 bounty which will help him keep the land but unfortunately a bounty hunter which Cole once arrested shows up and to get his revenge decides he will kill the bear to stop Cole from getting the reward money.
With the title "The Night of the Grizzly" you might expect this to be some sort of horror movie featuring a big old bear but trust me it isn't. In fact with the hugely likeable and softly spoken Clint Walker in the lead role this almost feels like a forerunner of "Little House on the Prairie" as we have a few stories and some family drama spun together. And it works if you are a fan of the softer side of westerns which are more about the adventures a family go through in starting a new life from a young child having a lasting tangle with a skunk to the quirky shopkeeper flirting with Jim's pal Sam.
What is so good about this is that despite that title "The Night of the Grizzly" is a family western and as such has something for everyone from the comedy of a drunk chicken to the action climax as Jim has several problems to deal with. On the subject of Jim there is Clint Walker who not only gets to show of his muscular torso when chopping wood but sings and gets to act the all round nice guy which he does so brilliantly. In fact everyone plays their parts well in this with Don Haggerty as Sam and Nancy Kulp as shopkeeper Wilhelmina adding plenty of humour to the mix.
What this all boils down to is that "The Night of the Grizzly" is a simple family western which is the combination of little stories from local illegal whisky distillers to troubles with a local rancher and so on. But it very much works as a bit of wholesome entertainment for those seeking a western which has something for all the family and it is the sort of movie you would go out of your way to watch again because of its wonderful tone.