The Wild and the Innocent (1959) starring Audie Murphy, Joanne Dru, Gilbert Roland, Jim Backus, Sandra Dee, George Mitchell, Peter Breck, Strother Martin, Wesley Marie Tackitt directed by Jack Sher Movie Review

The Wild and the Innocent (1959)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Audie Murphy in The Wild and the Innocent (1959)

The Young and The Inexperienced

Young Yancy (Audie Murphy) is sent to the trading post to trade some of his Uncle's pelts but when he gets there he finds that the trading post has been burned down as Ben Stocker (Strother Martin) sold some moonshine to a group of Indians. Told by the trade post owner that if he wants to trade furs he will need to ride two days to the town of Casper a place that Yancy has never been before, in fact he has never been to a town or city before. Yancy finds himself accompanied by Rosalie (Sandra Dee), Stocker's eldest daughter who has tired of his ways. In Casper the sheriff, Paul (Gilbert Roland), says he will sort Rosalie out with a job as a dancer and knowing no better Yancy thinks it will be great. That is until he discovers exactly what being a dancer means in Casper leading to a confrontation between Yancy and the Sheriff.

"The Wild and the Innocent" starts with a musical scene as Yancy along with his uncle and aunt are singing along as they ride through the wilderness which is not what I expected seeing this is an Audie Murphy movie. But after a few more scenes you begin to get the gist as whilst "The Wild and the Innocent" is a western with some western action it also has a more easy going family side to it with its story of two inexperienced young people ending up in the big town.

Sandra Dee in The Wild and the Innocent (1959)

Now what that actually means is that "The Wild and the Innocent" is corny with lots of scenes which are supposed to be easy going and amusing. For example an early scene sees Yancy's uncle attacked by a bear and come next morning Yancy fears whether he will be okay or not but never fear he growls like a bear because he never ate last night and everyone laughs. It is that sort of cheesiness which whilst entertaining enough is not exactly what fans of westerns want to see.

There is also the little matter of Audie Murphy cast as a young, innocent man which whilst Murphy looked a lot younger than he was, by 1959 he no longer passed as an inexperienced younger man. The same with Sandra Dee as whilst younger than Murphy still didn't convince as an inexperienced young woman. But having said that the combination of Murphy and Dee is an entertaining one and they work well when it comes to the more easy going tone of the movie.

What this all boils down to is that "The Wild and the Innocent" I am sure if you saw as a young teenager in 1959 would have a warm place in your heart. But for anyone else, especially fans of westerns, it comes up short and is all a bit corny because of its focus on innocent fun and youth.