Perhaps the grittiest and grimmest of the Randolph Scott-Budd Boetticher collaborations, The Tall T was adapted by Burt Kennedy from the Elmore Leonard short story The Captive.
Scott plays a former ranch foreman who, along with newlyweds Maureen O'Sullivan and John Hubbard, is held hostage at a deserted stagecoach station by ruthless bandit Richard Boone and his henchmen Henry Silva and Skip Homeier.
Since we already know that Boone has no qualms about killing a freckle-faced 10 year old boy, we shudder to think of what's in store for Scott and his fellow captives once Boone carries out his plan to rob the next stagecoach.
In Boetticher's time-honored Mexican Standoff fashion, Scott bargains with Boone for the life of O'Sullivan, but his efforts are undercut by Hubbard's cowardly treachery.
The film's sparse, carefully controlled tension level bursts into full-out bloodshed only minutes before the final fade-out. Curiously, the title The Tall T is never explained at any time; certainly the T doesn't refer to Randolph Scott, whose character name is Pat Brennan.