A California mining camp is plagued by a series of murders. Four people come under suspicion for the killings and are run out of the camp. During a blizzard they take refuge in an isolated ...
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A California mining camp is plagued by a series of murders. Four people come under suspicion for the killings and are run out of the camp. During a blizzard they take refuge in an isolated cabin, and conflicts begin to break out among them. Written by
Decent version of a couple Bret Harte stories has been told many times over the years including a 1919 version by John Ford. This one here features Preston Foster playing John Oakhurst, a gambler working out West when the gold rush struck. He's got the biggest business in town but things start to change when a teacher (Jean Muir) and a preacher (Van Heflin) show up. The story itself wasn't too original but I found the performances to be so great that they made the film worth viewing. Foster is extremely good in the lead because he really makes one believe the character development that he goes through. I thought the actor managed to do the more action packed scenes well and he made you believe that he was this tough gambler who really didn't care about anyone but himself. Muir is also extremely good in her part and she and Foster has some great chemistry that leaps off the screen. Heflin easily steals the film as the young preacher who shows up hoping to change this rather dirty town. The supporting cast includes nice work from Virginia Weidler, Si Jenks, Al St. John and Billy Gilbert. I think the biggest problem with the film is the direction of Christy Cabanne who simply never makes it too interesting. Visually the film is quite flat and a lot of the emotion that the story is going for never comes off and this is especially true during the final minutes. Still, the performances are so good that fans of the actors will still want to check this out.
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