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John Francis Dillon
Western pardners Jeff and Cash find a baby boy in an otherwise deserted emigrants' camp, and clash over which is to be "father." They are still bitterly feuding years later when they own adjacent ranches. Bill, the foundling whom Cash has raised to young manhood, wants to end the feud and extends an olive branch toward Jeff, who now has a lovely daughter. But during a mining venture, the bitterness escalates. Is Bill to be set against his own adoptive father? Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
[Cash and Jeff rescue a baby from a deserted wagon]
What have we got that'll feed his gizzard? He can't chaw jerky!
Aw, you don't know nothin'. There's oatmeal gruel and a mite of bacon grease'll see him through.
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It's a different kind of western, with little action, all right, but it has a good plot and excellent performances, especially from the veterans William Farnum (Cash) and J. Farrel MacDonald (Jeff). Their interpretation of two friends turned into enemies because of a baby boy they found in the desert is wonderful. Helen Twelvetrees (Mary Ellen) is a flesh and blood Betty Boop and shows with her faces the transition from silent film heroines to those of the sound era. The plot has a simple, but coherent structure that leads to a happy ending. In the whole, "The Painted Desert" has not much of action but it's an enjoying western movie to watch.
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