Movie Review: Fury at Showdown (1957)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 1957 western starring John Derek and Carolyn Craig.

Synopsis: After serving a prison sentence for killing a man in self defense, gunfighter Brock Mitchell returns to his hometown of Showdown in the hopes of settling down and running a ranch with his brother. However, he quickly finds he is not welcomed by the townspeople and, to make matters worse, lawyer Chad Deasy, is seeking revenge for his brother's death by trying to bait Brock into a gunfight with his new "bodyguard."

Who's In It?


I had planned on watching the season premiere of "Supernatural" last night. However, my wife was feeling a bit under the weather and decided to go to bed early so I wound up watching this movie instead. Overall, I have to say I was much more impressed with it than I thought I would be.

When I first started watching this film, I figured it would be the typical classic western with a very basic plot and lots of action. As it turns out, it was actually quite a bit more than that and, in addition to being a good action movie, it also managed to be a halfway decent psychological drama.

I especially liked how the lawyer, Deasy (Clarke) went after his revenge slowly. He could have simply had his hired gun, Miley (Smith), ambush and kill Brock (Derek). But, instead, he went out of his way to convince Brock (who, up until this point, had only killed people in self defense) to fire first. This included turning the town against Brock and taking steps to prevent Brock and his brother (Adams) from landing a deal that would allow them to buy back their bank loan and keep their ranch. And, since there were plenty of times when his plan seemed to be working, it did make me wonder if Brock would eventually snap.

Even though this movie focuses heavily on the various characters and their personalities, it does have quite a bit of action in it too. This includes a well-choreographed fist fight between Brock and Miley that starts out in a bar and ends several buildings down the street. This does keep it from becoming dull and the fight itself reveals a lot about the two rivals, including Miley's willingness to cheat.

My only real complaint about the movie is the ending. Not only was his final gunfight with Wiley kind of short, there were a lot of things, ranging from Brock's relationship with Ginny (Craig) to whether or not he was able to walk away from his gunfighter reputation and be accepted by his community, that never really get answered. Even something as simple as forwarding ahead a few months and showing a married Brock and Ginny running the ranch would have been an improvement in my book. Fortunately, the rest of the movie does make up for that.

Final Opinion

If more classic westerns put this much depth into their characters, I probably would watch the genre more. This is definitely a movie I enjoyed watching and would recommend.

My Grade: B

Updated: 10/14/2016, StevenHelmer
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DerdriuMarriner on 04/11/2022

StevenHelmer, Thank you for product lines, pretty pictures and practical information.
The library system here does not have Fury at Sundown catalogued with its Blu-ray and DVD collections. So I don't expect to be watching this classic film in the immediate future.

Would you happen to have seen any other Derek films?

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