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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 <email@example.com>
William Boyd and Clark Gable, during the making of the film (11 October 1930), narrowly escaped serious injury from falling rock after two tons of explosives went off with considerably more force than planned in Dinosaur Canyon, some 70 miles northwest of Flagstaff, Arizona. While Boyd and Gable were 200 feet from the blast, rocks and boulders rained down between where they were standing. Not so lucky were a number of technicians, some 15 of whom were taken to hospitals in Flagstaff and Tuba City, and director Howard Higgin, who suffered a broken ankle and various cuts. The female lead, Helen Twelvetrees, had already returned to Los Angeles, as most of the principal photography was completed. Dynamite and black powder had been placed in the face of a 400-foot cliff and in an old mine tunnel, the explosion being expected to crumble the cliff. Unexpected presence of hard rock lent the blast violence that had not been anticipated, and showered rock and stone over an area of nearly half a mile. See more »
Two men traveling west find a baby boy in the desert and quarrel over which one will raise him. One steals away with the boy and becomes a wealthy rancher while the other stays put beside a waterhole and remains an impoverished homesteader.
Years later the boy has grown up to become a fair-minded man who tries to reconcile the two bitter enemies, partnering with his father's old friend in a mining operation beset by mistrust due to unexplained sabotage.
The Painted Desert is mostly remembered nowadays for featuring future Hopalong Cassidy star William Boyd and the first talking performance by Clark Gable.
Though undoubtedly harmed by having nearly all it's action sequences carved up as stock footage for later films, it's still worth watching and has a nice Hollywood sheen not seen in later B-westerns.
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