"American Empire" is another of a series of modestly budgeted features produced by Harry "Pop" Sherman, who also was responsible for the highly successful Hopalong Cassidy series. This one deals with the emergeance of the cattle ranches in Texas in the years following the Civil War.
Two soldiers of fortune, Dan Taylor (Richard Dix) and Pax Bryce (Preston Foster) are ruuning a freight business from their riverboat. One day they meet up with the unscrupulous Dominique Beauchard (Leo Carillo) who is driving cattle to his home state of Louisiana. The boys agree to transport the cattle to their destination for a set fee. When Beauchard fails to pay up they keep the cattle and decide to go into the cattle ranching business.
Into the mix comes Taylor's sister Abby (Frances Gifford) with whom Bryce falls in love and marries. They soon have a son Pax Jr. (Merrill Rodin) and Pax Sr. becomes more and more ambitious as time goes on, much to the chagrin of his partner Dan. He has angered the smaller ranchers by refusing them permission to drive their cattle across his land. The ranchers decide to stampede the cattle through but Pax Jr. is killed in the stampede.
Bryce becomes distraught and decides to erect barb wire fences around the ranch which forces Dan to dissolve their partnership. All this is resolved at the end when all realize that progress must prevail over the ambitions of one man.
Also in the cast are Guinn "Big Boy" Williams and Cliff Edwards as the comic relief, Jack LaRue and Chris-Pin Martin as Carillo's henchmen, and veterans William Farnum and Hal Taliaferro in other roles.
Foster is really the star of the movie despite being billed third. He delivers a solid performance. Dix, who was top billed, is really only a supporting player. Gifford looks lovely as the heroine. The action is well staged and there's one dandy of a gunfight at the climax of the film.
A good western.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?