Two Virginians are heading for a new life in Texas when they witness a stagecoach being held up. They decide to rob the robbers and make off with the loot. To escape a posse, they split up and don't see each other again for a long time. When they do meet up again, they find themselves on different sides of the law. This leads to the increasing estrangement of the two men, who once thought of themselves as brothers. Written by
Holden and Ford may be the stars, but the film belongs to director Marshall and the incomparable Edgar Buchanan. Marshall started out directing comedy shorts and it shows up here in several memorable scenes. That fight scene may be the most amusing on boxing record. Dutch Henry keeps popping up, dukes raised, like a whack-a-mole, and I love the way the boisterous crowd ends up in a frontier free-for-all. The buckboard scene may be brief but it's expertly done, Trevor shows real comedic ability as she struggles with a rebellious ten yards of skirt. Then there's the topperpudgy, gravel-voice Buchanan actually doing a song and dance. I wouldn't believe it if I hadn't seen it. But more incredibly, his graceful shuffle and tuneful refrain are absolutely charming. What a marvelous actor he was as he transitions here from musical performer to shifty-eyed mastermind.
It's a good story if a bit shopworntwo buddies (Ford & Holden) falling on opposite sides of the law while competing for the same girl (Trevor). The various alliances get a little confusing so you may need a scorecard to keep up. Holden gets the majority screen time, while the always low-key Ford is even more so than usual. All in all, it's a highly entertaining, fast-paced 90-minutes, thanks mainly to an expert director and a cagey old coot.
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