This looked like a movie John Wayne and John Ford backed to help Patrick Wayne get into the movie business. It was produced by John Ford's son Patrick Ford. Patrick Ford produced most of John Ford's movies in the 1950's. The story is set between the end of the Mexican War and before the California Gold rush. It's a fictional story about the U.S. Government attempting to get control of the California Territory before statehood. Patrick Wayne plays an ex-Marine chosen as sheriff in a small California settlement. It's a little known fact that it was the Navy and the Marines that took the California coastal cities during the Mexican War. An Anglo-American shoots and kills a Spanish-Californian is a gunfight. Unlike the characters John Wayne would have played Patrick Wayne plays a non-violent sheriff. The story is more about America in the 1950's and 1960's than California in 1848. Does U.S. law apply fairly to white Americans and non-White Americans equally? If an incident had occurred like was shown in the movie in 1848, (and it probably did many times) there would have been no U.S Marshall and Federal Judge to send for. California at this time was notorious for vigilante justice. In fact it was invented in Old California. A vigilance committee would be formed and the killer would be lynched. The movie was also different from the other Westerns of the 1950's in that they used replicas of the type of guns used in 1848. They were all muzzle loaders and cap and ball revolvers. But there was little smoke. These old guns used black powder and made lots of smoke. Most of the actors in the movie were young and some became big stars latter on including Patrick Wayne and Dennis Hopper. Patrick Wayne's girl friend in the movie became Batgirl on TV and his deputy became Festus on Gunsmoke. The acting is not very good. But the credits and color was as good as any first rate movie of that era. The song from the credits was nominated for an Oscar. I don't know why. It wasn't that good.