I always knew this film existed and that was about it really, never really giving it much thought. Then the opportunity to watch Jubal (1956) was there for the taking with two great leads who never fail to deliver. When unlucky Jubal Troop (Glenn Ford) falls from a cliff he’s lucky to be found still alive by cattle man Shep Hogan (Ernest Borgnine) who takes in the stranger, giving him a bed and a job, more than Jubal really bargained for.
Staying on the ranch allows lonely and wanting wife Mae Hogan (Valerie French) of Shep, living a life she never really wanted, trapped alone on the ranch with a man who doesn’t know how to treat her right. It turns out that Jubal is the latest in a long line of men who Mae has taken a shine to. All her advances go unanswered by Jubal out of loyalty to his friend who gave him a second chance. Something he’s never really had, believing that bad luck seems to follow him. He also has to worry about Pinky (Rod Steiger) who envy’s the stranger who came in smelling of “sheep dip” being giving all the attention and success, something he thought was a given. A man not to mess with on a drive.
Luck indeed is not on Jubal’s side, even with the arrival of a christian wagon trail that stops on Shep’s and, not really a threat, but enough for Pinky to take advantage of the situation. Amongst the trail is another woman Naomi Hoktor (Felicia Farr) who Jubal does take a shine to. Acting as a welcome distraction and eventually way out of the mess that he becomes embroiled in.
A decent western set against the Wyoming landscape, reminiscent of Eadweard Muybridge’s photography, allow the action of man to have a grand stage to play out upon. With the truth revealed things move very fast as a mob is now on hit pursuit of Jubal a man who now has to defend himself from the lies that are being woven as they mob ride the open country, with new friend Reb Haislipp (Charles Bronson) by his side. It all happens so fast, the fight to speak the truth above all the stronger lies which are far easier to believe.
Everyone is on great form here as the stranger who is taken in and accepted by a few is still seen as an outsider and a threat to some, It’s the fear of the unknown, blinding you from what else may be going on. Something that is very easy to do, instead of listening to the truth. I’m glad I took the time to watch this classic western which was well worth the wait.