In the aftermath of the western spectaculars like THE IRON HORSE, there was an upturn in western production for a few years. The divide between the B Western producers and the Majors were never clearly defined. Each of the majors had one or two cowboy stars on staff, turning out two or three oaters a years, well into the 1940s; sometimes a cowboy star would go from the Bs into the As, like John Wayne; sometimes an A star would go into the Bs and prosper, like Randolph Scott. A hit movie could make a studio's fortune. Were not the Warner Brothers building their studio on the success of Rin Tin Tin, to be sealed by Al Jolson? Anything could happen.
So reasoned the people who produced this movie. There are some real actors with drawing power in front of the camera and some real talent behind it; cameraman Bert Longnecker shoots some very nice long vistas, aided by some old-fashioned iris effects. This could have been his break-out film, had anyone really noticed.
Unfortunately, no one did, because the script is hokey melodrama and the movie isn't really about Kit Carson. Oh, the opening credits note that while the large sweep of the story is based on fact, the story is pure invention. Sheldon Lewis (audience: boo) steals Henry Walthall's wife, Marguerite Snow (audience: kiss the back of your wrist loudly) and it is up to Roy Stewart (audience: cheer)to rescue her from his refuge in Old California.
Basically, everyone does a fine job except for the writers and they manage to carry this movie along well enough. Pretty pictures, good acting and over-the-top screen titles. It will entertain you very well while you are watching; but the writing is why this one didn't advance anyone's career past payday.
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