The Duel at Silver Creek, a movie starring Audie Murphy VHS version
Four out of five stars
There is a lot of precious metal in the area and so many miners have moved in and staked their claims to various plots. In general, they are one and two-man operations and isolated, so it is easy for a gang of claim jumpers to get them to sign over their claims at gunpoint. Most of the miners are then killed.
The Silver Kid (Audie Murphy) is working a claim with another man and when they find a nugget, he is off to the assayer’s office to turn it in. The Silver Kid is also an expert gambler, so the expectation is that he will be gone for some time. Shortly after he leaves, the gang of claim jumpers arrive, force the partner to sign over the claim and then kill him.
The local marshal has the name Lightning, due to his fast action with a gun and he is determined to take down the gang of claim jumpers. When he suffers an injury to his right hand, he deputizes the Silver Kid, telling him to watch his back.
True to his word, the Silver Kid does that, giving Lightning advice that he would rather not hear. From this point, the action becomes predictable, the Silver Kid meets a girl, there is romance and the criminal gang is thwarted. The two main female characters are quite different, one is a ruthless woman dressed in finery that is allied with the claim jumpers while the other is dressed in jeans and is allied with the marshal and Silver Kid.
Murphy is once again the principled hero good with a gun, on the side of the law, the perfect place to be when you want revenge against the killers of your partner. Murphy plays the role well, yet the predictability of the plot lowers the level of entertainment. The viewer knows from the first scene where the Silver Kid and the woman in jeans meet that there will be romance between them.