- Information at Internet Movie Database
The Tall T (1957) Directed by Bud Boetticher; Screenplay by Burt Kennedy. A major theme in American westerns (Spaghetti ones show little interest in this area) is the cohesiveness/incohesiveness of the community. Often the community encounters a threat that promises to destroy their fragile existence unless the community takes action. The threat maybe bandits (The Magnificent Seven), immorality (Who Shot of Liberty Valence), or the invasion of another community (The Alamo). Often several threats converge - such is the case in The Tall T. Bandits, immorality, and invasion all conspire to destroy the well-being of the "good guys."In this 1950s western, Randolph Scott plays a decent, hard-working cowpoke who struggles to create his own homestead in the wild west. Unfortunately, his plans are derailed when he encounters a gang of bandits. They shoot Scott's pal and proceed to dump the remains down the only water well for miles around, thus polluting the water source. Not only do the bandits kill one person, but they effectively threaten to kill the whole community by this reckless act of violence. Scott must correct the problem by outwitting the bandits and rescuing the community. This film gives modern viewers a good analogy to the ancient concern around pollution (I'm thinking specifically about some of the Levitical laws). Several other westerns (Apache Drums, etc.) also use the contaminated-water theme to illustrate the threat to community.