YELLOW SKY. 20th Century Fox, 1948. Gregory Peck, Anne Baxter, Richard Widmark, Robert Arthur, John Russell, Henry [Harry] Morgan, James Barton, Charles Kemper. Based on a story by W. R. Burnett. Director: William A. Wellman.

   How would you like to be Gregory Peck asthe leader of an outlaw gang that has someone like Richard Widmark as mamebr it? Not much, you say, and you’d be right. It goes about as well as you’d expect. As it turns out, though, they end up with two different goals in mind. Peck wants the girl (Anne Baxter), while Widmark wants the gold she and her grizzled old grandfather have dug out of their mine.

   The setting is a deserted old mining town named Yellow Sky, located right on the edge of Death Valley, which Peck and his men have just crossed. With her tight shirt and jeans, “Mike” is a sight for sore eyes, but not right away. All the outlaws want at first is water, and lots of it.

   Eventually, though, they begin to wonder what the girl and her grandpa are doing there, totally isolated as they are, miles from any sign of civilization. This is where — you guessed it — thoughts of the gold come in, and this is also exactly when rifts between the members of the gang begin.

   This is a well-constructed western movie that makes perfect use of its setting. It may be just a bit talky, but toward the end there’s plenty of gunplay and action for anyone who’s looking for that; after all, that’s what the whole film is building up to.

   As for Gregory Peck vs. Richard Widmark, you know exactly how that’s going to come out, and except for an ending that seems to be tacked on to satisfy the Movie Code, Peck does it quite convincingly.