Deep in a remote mountainous desert region, millionaire Don Carson (Ryan) suffers a broken leg when he is thrown from a horse. (We don't see this happening, as the film begins after the fact, but you know it has occurred.) Leaving Don with a canteen of water, a pistol, and a small amount of food, his wife, Gerry (Rhonda Fleming), and prospective miner, Joe Duncan (William Lundigan), venture out in search of help.
Really, though, the two, who have recently become lovers, have no intention of getting help...they intend to leave the helpless Don to die in the vast desert.
With a tenacious will to live his only ally, Don attempts to not only survive, but to find his way back to civilization and to make the murderous pair pay for their actions.
Barely able to walk because of his broken leg and with his canteen nearly empty, Don must call on every ounce of inner strength he possesses to battle against the harsh desert.
Will Don make it out? Or will Gerry and Joe get away with murder? These are the questions that play out in this fabulous movie.
This film is very exciting, and, as usual, Robert Ryan is totally fantastic in his role. He is simply amazing, and that is accomplished, largely, through body language. Since he is alone in the desert (with no one to talk to), Ryan's words come forth as thoughts. I am not overly familiar with Rhonda Fleming, having seen her in only two other films, but she was very believable here as the cheating wife...not to mention totally beautiful. William Lundigan, who I have only seen in good-guy roles, was quite out of character, but he, too, was believable. The Mojave Desert setting made the film quite realistic to me, as I could actually picture myself in the mountainous desert areas near where I live. The rugged terrain reminded me of treks we have taken through the Owyhee Desert area of Southwest Idaho/Northern Nevada, and with my vivid imagination, I could easily picture myself as Don Carson, all alone against the elements.
Inferno is a definite must-see movie, especially for Robert Ryan fans. The man is positively brilliant here. As I said, though, this is a difficult film to track down. You might be lucky enough to find it on a local station which shows classic movies...or perhaps one day soon TCM or Fox Movie Channel will air it. Or, you can do what I did and order it from Rare Classic DVD's (HERE). I got it for $15...and I am more than satisfied with what I got for my money.
Anyhow, happy viewing!!