This one has Scott as his usual character, seeking vengeance, but includes the twist that his vengeance turns out to be, in reality, meaningless. He made two more before retiring in 1962 with a great finish as Gil Westrum in Ride the High Country. The Tall T, together with Seven Men from Now and Ride the High County are Randolph Scott in his later years at his best. Randolph Scott Bart Allison and director Budd Boetticher made seven very interesting and intelligent Westerns together, each man seemingly using each one as a muse of sorts. It will also prevent a woman Karen Steele from making a mistake.
Bart Allison arrives in Sundown after a three year search for Tate Kimbrough. If you look real close you will see a very old time veteran actor playing a bad dude, Bob Steele. But Scott has few allies here. The groom Tate Kimbrough John Carroll controls Sundown and the law. Decision at Sundown shows Randolph Scott as the ugliest he ever was on the screen.
Bart Allison and Sam, his trusty companion, ride into Sundown looking for a guy named Tate Kimbrough. Bart Allison arrives in Sundown planning to kill Tate Kimbrough. Carroll by no coincidence I'm sure is getting married to Karen Steele that day, the daughter of a local rancher John Litel much to the dismay of Carroll's long time mistress Valerie French. What he finally decides is probably the only way out for him. The story has a lot of great moments, but there is also some credibility straining, overload of simplicity and lack of tautness. For the town he will become a hero but he will hate himself for what he has done.
But the reasons for his actions become increasingly unclear, while the town starts to wonder about the grip Kimbrough has over them. It will also prevent a woman Karen Steele from making a mistake. A shoot-out in the church puts the wedding on hold and Allison and his trail-buddy hole up in the livery stable. Scott interrupts the wedding and then he and Beery are trapped in a barn. John Carroll underplays his fairly one-dimensional villain, he's no Lee Marvin, Richard Boone or Claude Akins. Familiar faces strew the supporting cast of cowed townsfolk: John Archer, Valerie French, Andrew Duggan, James Westerfield, John Litel, Ray Teal, Vaughan Taylor, Richard Deacon, H.
Although it is Kimbrough's wedding day, Allison makes it clear he blames him for the death of his wife and is out to kill him. The thing is that Allison never gets the pleasure of killing Kimbrough. He is the ugly hero and even his loyal sidekick Noah Beery Jr. Scott plays a flint-eyed gunman who rides into a sleepy town to drive out local tough guy John Carroll by sundown. The woman subsequently killed herself, and the fact that she had left Scott willingly is torturing both.
That depends on how the viewer interprets Allison's motives and moves. Some think this movie holds up well, including Taylor Hackford, who provides an analysis of the movie. Then all Hell breaks loose. In conclusion, decent but had the potential to be much better. Randolph Scott is once again on a revenge kick, this time going after Tate Kimbrough John Carroll who he believes had led his wife to commit suicide.
Even at this point, Lucy wants nothing to do with Tate and calls off their wedding. Later, at Kimbrough's wedding, Bart raises an objection during the ceremony, and he tells Kimbrough's bride Lucy that she will be a widow at sundown. . The way Scott lets the character's pain run free makes this the best work I've seen from him. He finds Tate Kimbrough John Carroll in the small town of Sundown where he owns the sheriff Andrew Duggan and has the town frightened. With most of the action taking place in town, there isn't much of Boetticher's usually well-photographed scenery, but the sets and costumes especially Scott's cool leather jacket look great.
Let's just say he changed everyone's life, but his own. John Carroll was sort of a poor man's Clark Gable. This film's scenario--unlikable character rides into town, cleans it up, then rides out again--would be the template for so many 1960's Westerns, both foreign and domestic. It's obvious why Tate was drawn to this woman who was as cold, calculating, and ambitious as himself. Bart Allison arrives in Sundown after a three year search for Tate Kimbrough. Also of interest is the effect on the town of Sundown that Allison has, it certainly lent me to think about some so called supernatural Westerns that would surface later on down the line, whilst the ending here doesn't resort to any sort of cop out formula, it's poignant and begs for a further train of thought. What brings this down a couple of notches is the fact that Boetticher doesn't use the outdoor settings that he used extensively in his other westerns.
A shoot-out in the church puts the wedding on hold and Allison and his trail-buddy hole up in the livery stable. It benefits enormously from a story by Elmore Leonard and a taut, suspenseful screenplay by Burt Kennedy. Taking care of the Sheriff, Allison injures his gun hand and must now face Kimbrough left-handed. Credit Scott for allowing Beery to get the best lines but no Beer. I don't recall another Scott film with Randy having a sidekick. Nice low-budget western with a script that's good by B-western standards, but not quite as good as the ones Kennedy cooked up for director Boetticher.