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Gun Smoke (1931)

Passed | | Action, Comedy, Crime | 11 April 1931 (USA)
Following a killing and robbery in a big city back east, gang leader Kedge Darvas and some of his henchies take a train to a small western town in Idaho, with intentions of hiding out there... See full summary »



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Cast overview:
Sue Vancey
Kedge Darvis
Stub Wallack
Tack Gillup
Hampsey Dell
Spot Skee
William Arnold ...
Mugs Maransa
Mink Gordon (as Carroll Naish)
Stanley Mack ...
Jazzy Quinn
Sheriff Posey Meed
James Durkin ...
J.K. Horton
'Strike' Jackson
Horton's Daughter (as Dawn O'Day)

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Following a killing and robbery in a big city back east, gang leader Kedge Darvas and some of his henchies take a train to a small western town in Idaho, with intentions of hiding out there until things cool down back in Chi or NYC, or wherever they lammed from.They are welcomed with open arms by the citizens under the impression they are there as capital investors with money to spend. Before long, Darvas figures the town is ripe for the taking and sends word for reinforcements, and each arriving train unloads a few suits and snappy-brim hats.Then they get rough, kill Sheriff Posey Meed and rile up the citizens, led by cowhand Brad Farley, who had Darvas spotted for a wrong number just by the way he made moves on Sue Vancey. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

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Plot Keywords:

train | sheriff | robbery | killing | idaho | See All (92) »


A "Western" that's different!






Release Date:

11 April 1931 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cheiro de Pólvora  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
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Did You Know?


One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. See more »

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User Reviews

When America was big, clean and roomy!!
28 April 2010 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

One of a group of novelty Westerns that sought to link the Western with the Gangster genre. Subtlety, showing to movie going folks, in the depths of the depression, that old fashioned ways were the best. Even in 1931, Westerns were still finding their "talkie" feet and a lot were big on talk and short on action ("The Painted Desert" (1930), "The Apache Kid's Escape" (1930)) - action was one thing "Gun Smoke" had plenty of.

Kedge Darvis (the always excellent William "Stage" Boyd) is crowned "king of the underworld" after a slew of vicious killings. He and his gang (including J. Carroll Naish) decide to hide out in Bunsen, Idaho where they think they will be able to live un-noticed. However, they are given a red carpet welcome. In the middle of all this, Brad Farley and his sidekick Stub Wallack (Richard Arlen and Eugene Palette) ride into town, whooping and hollering. Brad is suspicious of Darvis and his plans and gives vent to his feelings about how city people come to the West to improve conditions - usually to the detriment of the West.

Brad's main problem is Sue Vancey (Mary Brian) who has suddenly gone quite cold on him since Kedge Darvis' arrival. (Heaven knows why, as there's no comparison between Richard Arlen and William "Stage" Boyd). She is dazzled by Darvis' big city ways and thinks Brad should buckle down and get a man's job (as if roping and rounding up horses isn't a man's job!!!) but he is suspicious of these "city slickers". "Darvis plays the gentleman for a week", so the title goes - there are a lot of linking titles, a holdover from silent days but unusual for 1931, I would have thought. Suddenly Strike finds gold on Sue's property and the gangsters show their true colours - from this point it is all go!!! When Strike goes for the sheriff he is shot in the back and the gangsters take over Bunsen, even killing the Sheriff. Brad Farley is up in the hills, hunting mustangs and is oblivious to the fact that the gangsters are holed up in Vancey's ranch and have cut it off from the world. Tack Gillup (Charles Winniger) escapes with the help of a Chinaman (Willie Fong) and gets word to Brad, about "killers, the kind you and I have ever heard of"!!! When the gangsters realise Tack has gone they "head for the hills" taking Sue and Hampsey Dell (Louise Fazenda) hostages. When Brad returns the killing starts!!!

Arlen shows why he was a movie Western hero with some terrific stunt work and pretty fancy riding - all without losing his hat!!! There is a rock slide, a horse stampede - there is a thrilling fight on the edge of the cliff between Brad and Darvis - only one survives!!! Funny how when Brad finishes his fight he is only a bit dusty but when he comes over the cliff he is tattered and torn. I think I will remember "Gun Smoke" for Arlen's impassioned speech where he beseeches the town's folk to remember when America was big, clean and roomy. Mary Brian didn't have much to do but sigh and pout prettily but she was always nice to have around. Anne Shirley (she was Dawn O'Day back then) plays the grocer's daughter and has a funny scene where she is supposed to present the "respectable businessmen" with some flowers (pansys) but can't remember her little speech.


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