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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
The final portion of the film pretty much sucks....
"The Outcasts of Poker Flat" is a classic film that was originally made in 1919 and was remade several times--and this 1937 version is just one of them. It's based on two stories by the famous old west author, Bret Harte. And, to me it LOOKS like two separate stories as you watch the film--one excellent but familiar one and one that left me totally flat and didn't see to fit.
This film is set just after the famed Gold Rush began and concerns growing pains that town experienced. In the earliest days, law was pretty much nonexistent and life was tough. However, with growth comes the forces you'd expect in bigger cities--churches, government, lawmen and folks looking for a civilized lifestyle.
One of the forces pushing BOTH directions in the film is Oakhurst (Preston Foster). He is a gambler and his bar is the center of vice in town. But, he also sees that change is inevitable--especially when he meets up with a nice lady, Helen (Jean Muir), and the preacher (Van Heflin). What's next for all these characters? See the film for yourself.
The best thing about the film are some of the actors. While Preston Foster is pretty much forgotten today, he was a leading man in the 1930s--and you can see why. Additionally, while Van Heflin is young, he already shows his abilities as a supporting actor (he later received an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor). However, the story is a bit too disjoint for me--with the ending not fitting in terribly well with the rest of the film. Overall, a time-passer but not a lot better.
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