It is 1892 in Death Valley and the yields from the Borax ore are getting so small that refining it is a losing proposition. The only thing that will save the company is a new deposit of ... See full summary »
It is 1892 in Death Valley and the yields from the Borax ore are getting so small that refining it is a losing proposition. The only thing that will save the company is a new deposit of high grade Borax, and Bill has a pouch of it that he got from a dead prospector that he buried on the road. Roper knows the value of the strike could be worth millions, but he needs Bill to find the prospectors' claim so they can record it and become rich partners. While Roper has no intention of cutting Bill in on the millions, he also has his eye on young Jean. Josie sees Roper for the scalawag that his is and it means trouble in Furnace Flat. Written by
Tony Fontana <email@example.com>
Skinner Bill Bragg:
Let's scratch some sand over him and keep the buzzards from picking him to pieces.
Pretty soon wind comes some more, blow sand off and coyotes dig him up just the same.
Skinner Bill Bragg:
Ain't you got no respect? It's the idea of the thing. Now get to scratching.
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This unremarkable film follows the exploits of borax miner Beery, and his Piute sidekick Carillo, in Death Valley as the 19th century winds down. The storyline is rather arbitrary--the promise of discovering a "motherlode" of borax could just as easily have been about gold or silver in another setting entirely--as Beery allies with oily Fowley (so memorable as the frustrated film director in "Singin' In The Rain") and later turns against him when his motives are made clearer. The perfunctory storyline could have been set in any-Western-town-USA and unfortunately does little to exploit the fascinating historical aspect of Death Valley, California. On the other hand, most of the exteriors were shot on location in Death Valley (in the winter, I hope) and the unique scenery is understandably spectacular in glorious black and white.
Baxter is lovely in her film debut, though her character's presence is little more than an excuse to dislike Fowley even more than we do. Beery is his usual blustery self so his fans will not be disappointed. But the film is, alas, just another cookie-cutter western that Hollywood churned out so frequently in the 30's and 40's; in other words, an inoffensive time-filler.
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