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CONSPIRACY NIGHT AT THE MOVIES: Garden of Evil


Garden of Evil (1954) is a Western film about three somewhat disreputable 19th-century soldiers of fortune, played by Gary Cooper, Richard Widmark, and Cameron Mitchell, who are hired by a woman, portrayed by Susan Hayward, to rescue her husband. The movie was directed by Henry Hathaway.

Plot


En route to California to prospect for gold, ex-sheriff Hooker (Gary Cooper), professional gambler Fiske (Richard Widmark), and bounty hunter Luke Daly (Cameron Mitchell) are forced stop over in a tiny Mexican village by engine trouble on the ship they are taking. A desperate Leah Fuller (Susan Hayward) hires the three men and local Vicente Madariaga (Victor Manuel Mendoza) to rescue her husband John (Hugh Marlowe), who is pinned under debris from a gold mine cave-in in hostile Apache territory.


During the harrowing journey, Daly tries to force himself on the woman late one night, forcing Hooker to intervene. Leah tells Hooker that there was a boom town, but a volcano eruption wiped it out, leaving only a church and the mine uncovered by the lava. The resident priest called it the "garden of evil". The Indians now consider the volcano sacred. The group then arrives at the mine. They find an unconscious John Fuller and free him.


Hooker sets his broken leg before he wakes. When John Fuller regains consciousness, he accuses Leah of only using him to get gold. Hooker talks to Leah later; after he tells her that he has spotted signs of Apaches nearby, she offers him and the others all the gold they have dug up to take her husband away that night, while she remains behind to make it look like they are still there. The cynical Fiske unexpectedly offers to stay with her, but when he asks her what he is to her, she tells him, "you're nothing at all, just nothing."


When they are ready to leave, Leah is true to her word, but Hooker knocks her out and takes her along. When they stop to rest, realizing he is fatally slowing them down, Fuller talks Daly into helping him onto a horse; he then rides off. When Hooker shows up, Daly draws his pistol, but is killed by an arrow in the back. At a burnt-out mission, they find Fuller dead and hung upside down on a cross. Vicente is the next to fall. At a choke point in the cliff-hugging only path out, the two remaining men draw cards to see who will stay behind to hold off the Indians while the other two ride to safety. Fiske "wins" and succeeds in killing or driving off most of their pursuers. After seeing that Leah is safe, Hooker shoots a few more Apaches and returns to talk with a dying Fiske, who admits he cheated. Fiske urges him to settle down with Leah. Hooker catches up with Leah, and they ride off into the sunset together.

Posted by Conspiracy Cafe on October 13, 2017 at 7:58 PM 112 Views