Dare Rudd and Dinkey Hooley, roaming cowhands, drift into Montana, where they meet Dare's cousin, Tom Fillmore, cattleman and banker. Tom offers them jobs but they pass, until Dare sees Tom's sweetheart, Judy Worstall and decides to take the job. He is put in charge of a cattle drive, replacing ranch-foreman Lynn Hardy, who is in cahoots with Bart Hammond, rustler. Dare delivers the cattle to the railhead and is about to return when he is persuaded into a poker game by Buck Brady, a crooked gambler. Dare is almost cleaned out when Tom appears and takes a hand and discovers the dealer is switching decks. Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
John Wayne fans should watch this film right after seeing a few of the ultra-low budget B-westerns Wayne made for Lone Star Pictures in 1934-5 (conveniently, you can get a 2-DVD set with this film, nine of Wayne's Lone Star cheapies, and ANGEL AND THE BADMAN for six bucks at Wal-Mart).
In the earlier films, we're clearly watching young Marion "Duke" Morrison appearing under a stage name. By the time BORN TO THE WEST (aka HELL TOWN) came out in 1937, Morrison was really growing into the John Wayne persona. The swagger, the drawl, and the squint are all there. Perhaps the character wasn't quite perfected yet, but the seeds of Wayne's future superstardom are there on the screen.
And the film itself is much better as well. No longer is Wayne a goodie-two-shoes, milk-drinking, kiddie-matinee hero. His character here is flawed--even a bit of a screwup. The script, the direction, and the acting are miles ahead of his early films. It's certainly not one of the greatest movies he ever made, but it's a solid, enjoyable little Western.
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