Molly Wood arrives in a small western town to be the new schoolmarm. The Virginian, foreman on a local ranch, and Steve, his best fiend, soon become rivals for her affection. Steve falls in with bad guys led by Trampas, and the Virginian catches him cattle rustling. As foreman, he must give the order to hang his friend. Trampas gets away, but returns in time for the obligatory climactic shootout in the streets. Written by
John Oswalt <email@example.com>
Although the story spans the late 1870's through the early 1880's, Molly refers to her grandfather being killed in the Cherry Valley Massacre. As that took place in 1778, at least 100 years earlier, that seems highly unlikely. See more »
Gary Cooper delivers, with a formidable supporting cast, an excellent performance which struck a cord with audiences who had seen it way back when. Victor Fleming adds life and mobility to the camera that many directors were struggling to find through the cramped constraints of the early talking picture. Fleming knew that disc recording wasn't going to make it in the movies for much longer and decided to use the improved Western Electric sound-on-film system. $425,000 later, it proved a decision he was glad he had made. Mary Brian is gorgeous as the loved but lonely heroine from Vermont, stranded and alone in a world so wide open and unpredictable that Coop's presence (after much deliberation) proves warm and protective. Richard Arlen, who was billed way above Coop in "Wings" (1927) makes a fine supporting character in the role of Steve, a cocky cattle rustler thirsting for adventure in all the wrong places, much different from David Armstrong, the character he portrays in "Wings". This proves his ability to adapt to different roles, which is to me, a film-maker myself, one of the most important qualities an actor can possess. Such is the case of Walter Huston, who doesn't even LOOK or SOUND like Walter Huston here. Of all the actors in the picture, I think his performance is probably the best; his make-up, his voice, his devilish smile make him a formidable adversary for our man Coop. This picture deserves a DVD release for more reasons than I care to list, if only to lend itself to a new generation of an audience. If you happen to find it in any format, I hope you shall agree with me on at least giving it a DVD release.
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