Jack Thornton has trouble winning enough at cards for the stake he needs to get to the Alaska gold fields. His luck changes when he pays $250 for Buck, a sled dog that is part wolf to keep ... See full summary »
Jack Thornton has trouble winning enough at cards for the stake he needs to get to the Alaska gold fields. His luck changes when he pays $250 for Buck, a sled dog that is part wolf to keep him from being shot by an arrogant Englishman also headed for the Yukon. En route to the Yukon with Shorty Houlihan -- who spent time in jail for opening someone else's letter with a map of where gold is to be found -- Jack rescues a woman whose husband was the addressee of that letter. Buck helps Jack win a $1,000 bet to get the supplies he needs. And when Jack and Claire Blake pet Buck one night, fingers touch. Written by
Dale O'Connor <email@example.com>
Gee, I wonder what it's going to be like having things instead of wishing for 'em.
It's not nearly as much fun.
You're wrong, Claire. Wishing never got anybody anyplace. It's owning something that counts and taking it when you can't get it any other way... that's all right too. It's the law up here... the law of the Klondike. If there is something you need, grab it! Take it away from the other guy. It's a good law. It works.
No, it only works when you deserve to have what you take. Otherwise, ...
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Gable has it all for a short while: easy pickings gold nuggets, a gorgeous girlfriend he found in the wilderness, a half-wild soul mate lead dog and a bashful wisecracking partner. But, his grasp on all of these is slippery, as the plot develops. I don't fault Hollywood for departing so flagrantly from London's story, which too was just a yarn. I found this version much more entertaining and profound, despite the stereotypical boss-sidekick relationship between Gable and Jack Oakie.
Gable seems to represent sort of an ideal adventurous entrepreneur: a riverboat gambler at heart, who is willing to take big risks and to work for his fortune when necessary, but who tries to grab all he can and beat out the competition. The chief villain is a stereotypical pretentious cutthroat tycoon: the worst kind of capitalist. In contrast, Gable recognizes certain limits in gaining his fortune and honors his commitments to his partners, be they human or animal. Loretta's creed is yet more tempered: You will get what you want only if you deserve it. See the movie to find out how these various creeds interact to determine the outcome.
This is perhaps Gable's most enjoyable role, along with those in "Mutiny on the Bounty" and "Boom Town". As in most of his best roles, Gable comes across as rakish: part hero, part scoundrel, but never dull. Like Gable, Loretta is at her physical peak at this time, making for a very romantic-looking couple.
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