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One inept spy, one great cowboy hero

5/10
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
14 April 2016

Trailin' West casts Dick Foran as a Union officer in the west on detached duty as a spy to ferret out a nest of Confederate sympathizers. It's a tried and true plot premise used by Warner Brothers on a bigger scale. Foran gets his mission from no less than Abraham Lincoln played by Robert Barrat and Lincoln's spymaster Allan Pinkerton.

Foran has no better luck than previous agents from Pinkerton's own ranks who get caught and sometimes killed. He loses his credentials and has to rely on his own wits to complete his mission. That and an extraordinary amount of luck which cowboy heroes seem to be able to draw on like a six shooter if needed.

But this is a western made for the Saturday matinée kid crowd and Foran was Warner Brothers B picture western star when he wasn't in A films like The Petrified Forest or The Sisters. And Dick Foran was a good singer who even got to Broadway in a revival of A Connecticut Yankee later on. This film and his other westerns are to exhibit him as a singing cowboy.

Not a great spy, but he's got some nice notes.

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2 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

No wonder the spies they sent out never came back!

1/10
Author: Dick-42 (rhunter51@cox.net) from Springfield, VA
9 February 1999

This is perhaps the dumbest spy movie I've ever seen. Everything possible is done to violate basic security procedures.

Maybe Civil War era spies weren't as sophisticated as they are now (or as the average movie fan), but it's impossible to imagine that they'd have been as stupid as they are depicted in this film. Maybe the script was written for Wheeler and Woolsey.

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