Returning from the war, Buck finds his younger brother in trouble. Trailing him he gets caught by Murdock who takes his letter of introduction to the Del Ray's. Posing as Buck, Murdock ... See full summary »
Returning from the war, Buck finds his younger brother in trouble. Trailing him he gets caught by Murdock who takes his letter of introduction to the Del Ray's. Posing as Buck, Murdock takes Del Ray's jewels and his daughter Jaunita. To effect Murdock's capture and to rescue Juanita, Buck now poses as Murdock. Written by
Maurice VanAuken <email@example.com>
One of over a hundred Columbia features, mostly Westerns, sold to Hygo Television Films in the 1950s, who marketed them under the name of Gail Pictures; opening credits were redesigned, with some titles misspelled, the credit order of the players rearranged, some names misspelled, and new end titles attached, thus eliminating any evidence of their Columbia roots. Apparently, the original material was not retained in most of the cases, and the films have survived, even in the Sony library, only with these haphazardly created replacement opening and end credits. See more »
... that Westerns simply were not made during the transition to sound since they so depended upon motion and outdoor scenes - something that early sound technology could not handle. In 1930 silent Western star Buck Jones made his first film in two years because of this. This is his third sound film.
The film opens with some fantastic WWI battle scenes that are partially stock footage. Buck risks his life to get his wounded comrade in arms, Ramon, out of the line of fire and to medical attention. Unfortunately, his friend doesn't make it and succumbs weeks later to his injuries. Ramon's family, the wealthy Del Reys, remember Buck's kindness in not allowing their son to die alone on a battlefield, and Senor Del Rey, head of the family, writes to Buck of his gratitude.
The war ends and Buck comes home to Arizona. As he gets off the train he meets Juanita Del Ray, sister of his friend Ramon. However, each does not know who the other is. She is cold to him, and that's strange in and of itself because here she is wearing fur in the middle of the Arizona desert! Even after he rescues her from a runaway buggy she is snobby to him. When Buck gets home and has a heartfelt reunion with his old mother, he discovers his younger brother Tommy has been away from home for some time, worrying mom.
Buck hasn't got to search long before he discovers Tommy is in jail - left the fall guy in a bank robbery by the Murdock gang. Buck doesn't want mom to drop dead of shock, so he devises a plan. He convinces the sheriff to hold him in Tommy's place while Tommy goes home, visits mom, and tells her he's going off to seek his fortune and will be gone a long time. This will cover the time Tommy is in jail for the robbery. Now this works great for Buck, Tommy, and mom, but the sheriff should have thought this one through. What if Tommy doesn't come back? The law doesn't let you put one man in jail for another one's crimes! Freedom may be the creed of the early west, but apparently it doesn't necessarily follow that these sons of the pioneers - even the lawmen -know anything about the Constitution.
Well lo and behold Tommy doesn't come back. So the sheriff does put Buck in jail in his place, although I'd like to see him explain this substitution to a judge. While in jail, Buck is left in the charge of the world's stupidest deputy - Honestly folks, he makes Barney Fife look like Columbo. But that doesn't make Buck's escape from jail any less humorous.
The reason Tommy never came home? He was kidnapped by his old gang on the way to see mom, because he knows too much and he might talk. Funny they didn't think of that WHILE he was in jail left holding the bag! Now free, Buck shows up at the Murdock gang's cabin looking for Tommy. This begs the question - If Buck knew where the Murdock gang was hiding why didn't he just tell the sheriff? At any rate, the gang spots Buck, which isn't hard to do because, there he is, in a great profile dressed up in what has got to be his Western Sunday best. Buck, who is smart enough to escape from jail, apparently loses his IQ altogether when he sees his brother, sent out at gunpoint by the gang to lure Buck. Buck walks right into the Murdock gang trap and once again he is a prisoner.
Murdock sees the letter of introduction to the Del Rays and Buck's discharge papers and decides to steal his identity, 60 years before identity theft is part of the vernacular. You see, Murdock has had his eye on the famous Del Ray jewels for some time.However, Murdock didn't need this elaborate subterfuge, because Senor Del Ray takes Murdock on his word that he is Buck. Mr. Del Ray seems mighty naive, even showing Murdock the location and beauty of the family jewels, and ignoring that Murdock gets completely wrong some facts about Ramon's death, which should have been a dead giveaway seeing that he was supposedly at Ramon's bedside at the time of his death. When Buck escapes the gang - humorously once again - he is not so lucky. Mr. DelRay doesn't entertain the possibility he could have been fooled. He just locks Buck up - again. Too bad Buck didn't introduce himself to Juanita Del Rey when he saved her earlier in the film. How will all of this work out? Watch and find out.
Now you might think I didn't care for this film, given the fact that I called out so many of the plot holes. You'd be wrong. This early sound film is well acted with plenty of good action and humor as well as pathos. The fact that some of the fine points of the script seem to have been cobbled together doesn't change the fact that Buck Jones caught on to how to play the cowboy in sound Westerns fairly quickly.
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