Saunders is no Chicken
Following the war, Confederate ex-officer Colt Saunders (Charlton Heston) returns to Texas and his large ranch. But before he gets back he meets Lorna (Anne Baxter) a dance hall girl masquerading as a lady, one who would rob him off his money if her friend Ruby LaSalle (Elaine Stritch) hadn't warned her not to. Soon Colt returns to his ranch with Lorna having married her but finds that his ranch is under threat from the government carpetbaggers trying to take over large ranches. And for Lorna that spells trouble as whilst many have fallen in love with her one of the carpetbaggers knows of her secret.
They don't make them like they use to. That is a sentiment which some people are happy with who find old movies quite cheesy whilst for others it is something they agree with, longing for the return of old fashioned movies with rich dialogue, characters, beautiful cinematography and stars who earned the right to be known as stars. The thing is that whilst I am in the second group who often prefer watching an old movie to a new one even I know that many of these old movies were routine. It is some thing I have to say about "Three Violent People" as it is just another play on a rancher doing what he can to keep hold of his ranch from those who want to take it from him. Yes we have government carpetbaggers rather than just unscrupulous businessman but it amounts to the same thing.
Of course there is more to "Three Violent People" than just this because half of the story is about Lorna, the former dance hall girl who keeps this a secret from Colt and marries him. But again as this is all pretty typical stuff with someone knowing who Lorna is and trying to use it against her. Although with the movie being called "Three Violent People" you do have to wonder whether Lorna's act as the loving wife is just that and the whole time she is planning on getting one over of Colt.
Still, despite the familiar nature of the storyline "Three Violent People" delivers plenty of 1950s western entertainment with Charlton Heston playing that morally upright man who stands up for what he believes. You also have Anne Baxter delivering a lot of seductive looks which with some nice, colourful cinematography makes her look all the more seductive. Plus there is action, some nice 1950s western action. Yes all of which is as familiar as the storyline but to be honest when watched now some 60 years after "Three Violent People" was released you appreciate how much better the writing was even in these old, routine westerns.
What this all boils down to is that "Three Violent People" is nothing special when you compare it to other westerns from the 1950's. But it is a solid movie with plenty to entertain those who enjoy the entertainment of an old western.