Clint Bringing Harmon-y to Yuma
Marshal Dave Harmon (Clint Walker) has been sent by the Governor to Yuma to clean the place up and it doesn't take long for the trouble to start when he tries to deal with two drunks and is forced to shoot one dead when he draws on him. But it turns out the man who Harmon killed is the brother of local businessman and law unto himself Arch King (Morgan Woodward). With the other man, another brother, locked up trouble comes knocking again when not only do two men break him out but then kill him in the hope that Arch King will blame Dave for his murder and get rid of him. Fortunately for Dave a young Mexican kid called Andres (Miguel Alejandro) witnesses the murder and under the protection of Dave can not only save his skin but help him solve why no law has been able to stick out in Yuma.
Ever since I watched "The Dirty Dozen" I have been a fan of Clint Walker, there was something about this softly spoken gentle giant of a man which made him very easy to like. And Walker's likeability comes in to play in "Yuma" a made for TV western from 1971 which unfortunately is exactly what it is, a made for TV movie and a western from the era when they were crashing out of favour. It doesn't mean that "Yuma" is bad but it is weak compared to earlier westerns and offers little other than some western actors such as Morgan Woodward to appease western fans.
Now in fairness "Yuma" is a decent variation on an unoriginal story of the lawman coming to a lawless town to clear it up. Not only does it give us some mystery as young Andres only saw the men's shiny boots which makes Dave think they are soldiers but we also learn that Dave had a run in with the army once before when his wife was killed. These little things don't add up too enough to make "Yuma" a memorable western but they at least flesh it out so it isn't completely plain sailing.
But as I said right at the start the best thing about "Yuma" is that it features various familiar faces with Morgan Woodward delivering what for him was a solid but typical performances On top of Woodward and Walker there is also Edgar Buchanan as well as Bing Russell who many will know as the father of Kurt Russell. But whilst the performances from all including Kathryn Hays are okay the characters are forgettable.
What this all boils down to is that "Yuma" has some nice elements and some nice performances but it is a weak western from the early 70s and offers nothing you won't have come across before.