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Nabb controls the pass and lets all the ranchers through except Holderness and his stolen cattle. When Nabb refuses to sell, Holderness works an his son Snap who has run up gambling debts. There is more trouble when Snap becomes jealous of Judy's attraction to the surveyor Jack. When Holderness has Snap killed, everyone heads to town for the showdown. Written by
Maurice VanAuken <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Surveyor Randolph Scott romances Sally Blane and finds himself in the middle of a land struggle
Twenty minutes in, I began to ask myself if that was Loretta Young on the screen and how I had missed her in the credits. It turned out to be Sally Blane, Loretta's sister. Sally is betrothed to the dark-clothed and mustached foreman (Gordon Westcott) of rancher J. Farrell MacDonald, but she doesn't have her heart in it, so when Randolph Scott arrives to survey MacDonald's property, romance finds a new direction. MacDonald is under much pressure of David Landau, who wants to own the whole valley and has killed and rustled to get what he has. But MacDonald is thwarting him because he has killed good settlers and gotten away with it. There is no trace of a lawman in this story.
Scott has his own bone to pick with Landau who, at the outset, directs him into the desert and has Guinn Williams leave him horseless.
Henry Hathaway had his first full directing job here after coming up as an assistant, and he does a very fine and smooth job. The story has action and twists. The way that Landau ropes in Westcott is done nicely. The characters come off real. The acting is very, very good from all concerned. Landau's jabs at Guinn Williams alone make this movie worth watching. There are some memorably sharp lines. Landau is asked by Westcott "You wouldn't do that?" referring to blackmailing him. Landau replies "I do something like that every ten minutes." The 1930s westerns are typically short and punchy. They look more realistic than many that came later. The extras look like real hands. The buildings and interiors look worn and rugged and simple.
This story is definitely more realistic than most. There is no gun duel between hero and bad guy at the end. Westcott's character turns against Landau at one point when Blane is threatened. These script touches add up to a satisfying experience. Paramount turned out a fine western here.
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