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. ...
See full summary »
In Kentucky just after the Civil War, the Hayden-Colby feud leads to Jed Colby being sent to prison for 15 years for murder. The Haydens head for Nevada and when Colby gets out of prison he heads there also seeking revenge. The head of the Hayden family tries to avoid more killing but the inevitable showdown has to occur, complicated by Lynn Hayden and Ellen Colby's plans to marry.
Jack La Rue
Both Sprague and Jett and their crews are hunting buffalo. Doan is with Sprague and is looking for the Jett outfit where his girlfriend Milly is being held against her will. In addition to ... See full summary »
Beasley, who is after Gayner's land, plans to kidnap his daughter. But Dale overhears their plan and kidnaps her himself. When Gayner arrives to retrieve his daughter, Beasley kills him and makes the Sheriff arrest Dale for the murder.
Young freewheeling wanderer Jerry Day and his beautiful wife Toni are at odds over their lifestyle. Jerry can't accept responsibility but Toni yearns for a family and a settled life. Then ... See full summary »
Jack Brookfield, a gambler with clairvoyant and hypnotic powers, is able to win at cards through his unique gift. But when he inadvertently hypnotizes young Clay Thorne, Thorne kills an ... See full summary »
Gardoni, a down-on-his-luck vaudeville performer, is taken in by a fellow performer, a clown who has a bicycle riding act. Gardoni shows his appreciation by stealing the clown's act and his girlfriend, whom he marries.
Chane Weymer (Randolph Scott), an Arizona rancher goes after a gang that is trapping and catching wild horses by the use of barbed-wire enclosures. He suspects Ward (Fred Kohler), of being ... See full summary »
John Abbott returns to the desert land he owns, and after being wounded by hired gunman Chick Chance, he is befriended by rancher Andrew Naab and his son, Marvin. Naab's daughter, Marian, ... See full summary »
An agent for the Cattlemens Association goes undercover to prison to try to find out who's behind a cattle-rustling gang. When he finds out, he "escapes" from prison and gets in touch with ... See full summary »
"Lucky" Davis, a ladies-man and a devil-may-care U. S. Marine Sergeant, is leading a Marine-squadron on an expedition through a Phillipine jungle where an outlaw bandit is leading a ... See full summary »
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 <email@example.com>
'Heritage of the Desert' is an excellent western that will appeal to viewers who don't normally like westerns. Made early in the career of the underrated director Henry Hathaway, this is a splendid example of his skills.
Veteran character actor J Farrell MacDonald gives one of his best performances here as Naab (unnecessarily weird name), a rancher who permits neighbouring ranchers to run their cattle drives through a narrow pass on his land ... all except rancher Judd Holderness (great name!), whom Naab knows to be a rustler. I usually dislike actor David Landau, with his coarse features and unpleasant voice, but here he has some great dialogue ... baiting his henchman Lefty with lines like 'How often have I told you not to think? You can do a lot better with your gun' and 'You got a six-gun where your brains oughta be.' When a morally ambiguous rancher (good performance by Gordon Westcott) tries to appeal to Holderness's conscience -- 'You wouldn't do a thing like that, would you?' -- Holderness calmly replies 'I do things like that every ten minutes.' Sally Blane, Loretta Young's sister, gives a strong and appealing performance as the heroine. I'm a fan of Loretta Young, but I've always found her just a little too beautiful to be believable in most of her roles. (I have the same problem with Nicole Kidman, whom I also like.) Blane strongly resembled her famous sister but was slightly less beautiful, and this makes her far more credible than Loretta in roles such as the one she plays here. Blane spends much of the film in a set of culottes which show off her lissome figure, but which are probably not historically accurate.
Vince Barnett, a character actor whom I usually like, is saddled here with some painfully thick-witted dialogue which he enunciates in one of the most bizarre and implausible accents I've ever heard. Randolph Scott is excellent as the surveyor who arrives at Naab's spread, where Sally shows interest in his plumb bob.
SPOILERS COMING. Hathaway's directorial hand is sure throughout. I was especially impressed by one staggeringly beautiful desertscape, and by a long series of dissolve shots as Randolph Scott's stand-in, wounded by a cowpoke's bullet, stumbles through the alkali.
Later in the film, there's an impressive sequence in which two characters draw their pistols and stand each other off. The camera pans to Sally Blane's reaction as two shots are fired off-camera. She screams, and we know that *somebody* got plugged ... but we don't learn the outcome until later.
Considering that this film was made on a low budget in 1932, its sound recording is very impressive. I'll rate 'Heritage of the Desert' 8 out of 10.
7 of 9 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?