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William A. Wellman
If you don't mind bad acting and logical errors, you'll love this film.
When the opening credits for "Yellowstone" began to roll, I knew that the film couldn't be very good. The woman warbling the tune was simply horrid--and a sign of things to come!
The film is, naturally, set in Yellowstone National Park. A rather dim young lady, Ruth (Judith Barrett) has come to the park to meet her estranged father who was supposedly in Australia for the past 18 years. When I heard this, I immediately assumed he'd been in prison for the last 18 years. Why this never occurred to the woman is beyond me. As I said, she seemed dim!
When Ruth arrives at the park, a creepy ranger, Dick (Henry Hunter) notices her and almost immediately begins sexually harassing her--or at least that's how his behaviors would be interpreted today. However, Ruth being dim, she likes Dick's advances and they soon become a couple- -even though he's SUPPOSED to be a ranger and not hitting on guests.
Along with Ruth, a variety of shifty characters arrive in town--further convincing the viewer that Ruth's father MUST be an ex-con. Well, it turns out that he is and was in prison for a string of robberies. And, not surprisingly, he's hidden the loot and a lot of people want the loot. Even less surprising is when the father (Ralph Morgan) ends up dead. Who did it? Who cares?!
This film is full of bad writing, bad dialog and cheapness. While it is a B-movie and such movies often are cheaply made, this one was worse than usual in many ways. The worst was that NOTHING occurred without it being telegraphed ahead of time. For example, the crusty old story teller (Raymond Hatton) just happened to be regaling guests with stories about an old gang of thieves--the same ones who would soon start fighting over the hidden money. And, often characters would overact or swoon (Ruth actually did this TWICE). All in all, despite the film having some decent supporting characters (such as Alan Hale and Paul Fix), bad writing overwhelmed everything else. Illogical assumptions, folks standing about 5 feet from a HUGE geyser when it erupts and the like show that in addition to bad writing, the direction was also less than stellar. All in all, not a lot to recommend this other than some nice location shots.
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