Thursday, June 25, 2015

Cahill United States Marshal by Joe Millard

Cahill United States Marshal is the paperback novelization by Joe Millard based on the screenplay by Harry Julian Fink and Rita M. Fink and published by Award Books in 1973 to capitalize on the film starring You-Know-Who. Millard was good and his other novelizations for such films as For A Few Dollars More and Chato’s Land are well worth your time. Cahill United States Marshal is straightforward with most of the material as it appeared in the film, although there are enough differences to indicate that some changes were made before the film was completed. J. D. Cahill is a tough old marshal carrying a sawed-off shotgun and two Colts. His two teenage sons went and did a foolish thing by assisting Abe Fraser in robbing a bank. Getting involved in a bank robbery when your father is a U.S. Marshal isn’t a bright move, and now J. D. Cahill has to set things right. The ending offers different dialogue than the film but the theme of fatherhood and understanding right from wrong is consistent. Terse prose and a bit edgy, Joe Millard could write a good Western. Definitely pick up any old paperbacks you find with his name on them. As for the film, it’s not considered one of Duke’s best but I enjoyed it. I saw every John Wayne film in a theatre upon its release from 1960 on. Cahill United States Marshal has the great Neville Brand as an Indian named Lightfoot and George Kennedy as Abe Fraser and even a solid Charlie Rich song. Yeah, it’s a bit corny, but I think Cahill United States Marshal holds up better than some. This paperback is perfect for John Wayne collectors and fans of well-written horse operas in general. The cover photo is from that fantastic opening sequence where he rides into an outlaw camp by himself and says, “Any of you want to surrender?” There was nobody quite as cool as John Wayne.

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