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Young lawyer Tod Jackson arrives in pioneer Kansas to visit his prosperous rancher friends the Daltons, just as the latter are in danger of losing their land to a crooked development company. When Tod tries to help them, a faked murder charge turns the Daltons into outlaws, but more victims than villains in this fictionalized version. Will Tod stay loyal to his friends despite falling in love with Bob Dalton's former fiancée Julie? Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
Early western about the bad guy myth - with good stunt work!
Another new DVD release from the vaults of Universal that's about as action-packed as JESSE JAMES (1939), which also came out around the same time. This too, carries the same western myth that Hollywood has about certain outlaws. If society had only treated them fairly, then they wouldn't have become outlaws in the first place.
The Daltons have been railroaded off of their farm and turned into outlaws by greedy land speculators who manipulate the law to suit their own ends. So begins the chase out of the courthouse, through the woods and onto a moving train in order to make good their escape. It even has some good Yakima Canutt stunt work involving a stagecoach robbery.
Randolph Scott and his love interest Kay Francis really are on the sidelines as those who are siding with the Daltons in spirit, even though they aren't out robbing bank and trains with them. They're really are only supporting players here even though they headline in the credits.
The real star is Broderick Crawford who despite his New York Bronx accent, really shines here as the lead Dalton, even scene-stealing away from Brian Donlevy who takes a back seat. This movie is Crawford's show, no question about it.
Director George Marshall has done better with oaters like DESTRY RIDES AGAIN (1939) and Texas (1941), but this film is no slouch, either. There's not a lot of deep plot characterizations but if you want 40s action that moves along pretty nicely, then you can't go wrong here.
6½ out of 10
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