Comanche Station (1960)

Comanche Station (1960), directed by Budd Boetticher.

Hearing that a white woman has been a captive of the Indians for a month, a man travels into their area to buy her back. We later learn that he often does this; his own wife was taken 10 years earlier. On their way back to her home they are joined by three rogues who want her for the reward her husband has offered. They'll kill to take her from her rescuer, but that's easier said than done.

This is another minimalist western from Boetticher, Randolph Scott and Burt Kennedy, shot in 12 days with no interiors. It recycles their familiar themes and situations (and practically a whole scene from Seven Men from Now (1956)) and has the realism, technical details and fine horse handling we have come to expect.

Claude Akins is the villain this time, at first seeming more one-dimensional than others in the series. He's affable but appears to have no other side. That's not quite true: he saves his adversary from an Indian attack even though he means to kill him later. Even the villain has a code of honor that says killing must be done in a certain way.

There is a little mini-genre of Westerns about white women kidnapped by the Indians, where the presumption is they are raped, defiled, soiled and ruined. I can think of:

How do the stories deal with the trauma and the aftermath of sex and violence? Here we have this exchange:


Nancy Lowe: If-if you had a woman taken by the Comanche and-and you got her back... how would you feel knowing?

Jefferson Cody: If I loved her, it wouldn't matter.

Nancy Lowe: Wouldn't it?

Jefferson Cody: No ma'am, it wouldn't matter at all.

Scott's character is not just tough and stoic, he is loving and large-hearted.

The DVD has an earnest commentary track, but he tends to narrate what we are already seeing.