Canyon Crossroads


1h 23m 1955

Brief Synopsis

A geology professor and his daughter go hunting for uranium in the modern West.

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Action
Adventure
Western
Release Date
Feb 1955
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
M.P.T. Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
United Artists Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Moab, Utah, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 23m
Color
Black and White

Synopsis

Uranium prospector Larry Kandell is desperately trying to outrun a helicopter pursing him through the desert near Moab, Utah when he falls and injures his leg. Larry succeeds in hiding from his pursuer, but as he lies in the shade, he worries about his wounded companion, Katherine Rand, and remembers how their adventure began: In Moab, Larry is drinking in a bar when he is approached by engineer Larsen, who offers to stake him in a prospecting expedition in exchange for a share of the profits. The drunken Larry bitterly rejects Larsen's offer, stating that he works for no one but himself. When Larsen insults Larry, Larry throws a drink in his face and is ejected from the bar. Geology professor Dr. Andrew Rand helps Larry to sober up and offers him a job guiding him and his daughter Katherine through the desert. Needing the money, Larry reluctantly agrees, although when he meets the opinionated Kathy, he takes an instant dislike to her, as she does to him. After they drive out into the desert and begin drilling for uranium, Larry is disparaging of Rand's judgement, and the professor is about to punch him when he falls and injures himself. Because night is falling, the trio is forced to sleep in the desert, and Kathy slaps the sleeping Larry when he rolls over and seems to be making a pass at her by lying beside her. In the morning, Larry drives the Rands to town, then goes to the farm of his Navajo friend, Charlie Rivers, Charlie's father Joe and young brother Mickey. Larry questions Charlie about the area known as Red Cliffs, with which Charlie is familiar, and reveals his belief that the valley between the cliffs is rich in uranium. Despite his skepticism, Charlie agrees to be Larry's partner and lead him into the area, after which Larry visits Rand in the hospital. Kathy is outraged when Larry proposes that the professor stake him in his new venture, but Rand, still eager for adventure, agrees. Kathy insists that she be allowed to accompany Larry and Charlie, and the next morning, they set out together. Meanwhile, Larsen is forced to suspend operations at his largest mine and informs the foreman that his other claims are also tapped out. While Larry, Kathy and Charlie are squabbling at their camp that night, Larsen visits Pete Barnwell, a ne'er-do-well prospector who dislikes Larry. Knowing that Pete has few scruples, Larsen hires him to trail Larry and report on his activities, and Pete leaves in the morning. In the desert, Larry leads Charlie and Kathy along an ancient river bed that winds through the Red Cliffs, although he despairs when he sees that there is no uranium at what he believes is the river's end. Searching farther, the group discovers a series of caverns in which the river truly ends, and finds that the area is filled with uranium. An overjoyed Larry selects samples for Charlie to take to the Atomic Energy Commission office in Moab, while he and Kathy stay behind to protect their claim. After Charlie's departure, Kathy and Larry, finally brought together by their shared labors, kiss and find that they are falling in love. Pete sneaks up outside the entrance and shoots at Kathy, wounding her before she runs back inside. Pete then sets off an explosion that seals the entrance and traps Kathy and Larry inside. As the couple anxiously search for an exit, Pete ambushes Charlie, killing him and stealing the samples. Pete returns to Moab, where he deposits the samples at the A.E.C. office, and runs into Rand, who tells him that Larsen is out of town. Soon after, Charlie's riderless horse returns to the Rivers ranch, and Joe and Mickey set out to find Charlie. In the morning, Kathy sees bats returning to the cave, and, realizing that there must be an opening somewhere, alerts Larry. They find an opening too high for the wounded Kathy to climb through, so Larry promises to return for her, then leaves. Meanwhile, in town, Larsen arrives at the A.E.C. office just as Pete is preparing to double-cross him by filing the claim for Larry's mine in his name alone. Larsen stops him, and Pete reveals that Kathy and Larry are trapped in the caverns. While Larsen and Pete are flying to the area in Larsen's helicopter, Larry finds one of his horses, which had been set free by Pete, and begins to ride to town. When Larsen and Pete reach the cave, Kathy hears them and, hoping that Larry has returned, cries out. Larsen then leaves Pete to guard the opening while he takes to the sky to hunt for Larry on his way back to Moab. While Larsen is flying, Joe and Mickey find Charlie's body, then follow his tracks back to the cave. There, Joe confronts Pete, then kills him after Pete confesses to murdering Charlie. Unaware that Kathy is trapped in the cave, Joe and Mickey begin the journey back to Moab. As they ride, Joe and Micky come across Larry, whose reminiscences have ended while he was resting underneath a rock. The trio returns to the cave and rescue Kathy, then hide as Larsen, who had gone to Moab to file a claim on Larry's find, returns to pick up Pete. During the ensuing shootout, Larry kills Larsen, then radios in for help. With the rescue service on its way, Larry and Kathy comfort each other with a smile.

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Action
Adventure
Western
Release Date
Feb 1955
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
M.P.T. Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
United Artists Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Moab, Utah, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 23m
Color
Black and White

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

According to the film's pressbook, the picture was shot entirely on location in and around Moab, UT. The pressbook also stated that no sets were constructed for the picture, ninety percent of which was filmed outdoors. The rest of the picture was shot in existing buildings in Moab, the site of many previous Hollywood productions