Though RKO Radio Pictures was, in 1951, still faithful to the concept of "B" westerns starring Tim Holt, the studio was more than capable of turning out an "A" oater from time to time. Best of the Badmen stars Robert Ryan as a former Union officer who persuades a fictional vigilante group which closely resembles Quantrill's Raiders to lay down their arms and seek out new and honest lives. Ryan is undercut by shifty Pinkerton man Robert Preston, who wants to collect the rewards on the heads of the ex-vigilantes; to that end, he frames Ryan for murder. With the help of Preston's embittered wife Claire Trevor, Ryan escapes and turns outlaw with the men whom he'd earlier convinced to turn honest.
|Jack Buetel||Bob Younger|
|Robert Preston||Matthew Fowler|
|Walter Brennan||'Doc' Butcher|
|Bruce Cabot||Cole Younger|
|John Archer||Curley Ringo|
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