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In Old California (1942)

Approved | | Romance, Western | 31 May 1942 (USA)
During the California Gold Rush, Boston pharmacist Tom Craig sets up shop in Sacramento where he clashes with local town crook Britt Dawson.


(as William McGann)


(screenplay), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »

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Complete credited cast:
Tom Craig
Lacey Miller
Britt Dawson
Ellen Sanford
Kegs McKeever
Joe Dawson
Harry Shannon ...
Mr. Carlin
Mr. Hayes
Robert McKenzie ...
Mr. Bates (as Bob McKenzie)
Milton Kibbee ...
Ezra Tompkins (as Milt Kibbee)
Chick - Dawson's henchman
Anne O'Neal ...
Mrs. Tompkins


Boston pharmacist Tom Craig comes to Sacramento, where he runs afoul of local political boss Britt Dawson, who exacts protection payment from the citizenry. Dawson frames Craig with poisoned medicine, but Craig redeems himself during a Gold Rush epidemic. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Romance | Western


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

31 May 1942 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Gold Runs the River  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Albert Dekker was borrowed from Paramount for this production. See more »


Featured in 100 Years of John Wayne (2007) See more »


California Joe
Written by Johnny Marvin and Fred Rose
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User Reviews

The Duke's A Druggist Dude
3 February 2007 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

In Old California finds John Wayne in the highly unusual casting of an eastern dude from Boston going west to California to seek fame and fortune as California becomes American territory due to the Mexican cession. He might be an easterner, but you wouldn't expect John Wayne to be any kind of cream puff.

He'd better not be because he's starting to interest Binnie Barnes who is the gal pal of Albert Dekker, the local boss of Sacramento and the surrounding area. Wayne likes Barnes, but he's got his heart set on Helen Parrish who is the daughter of a local Spanish don.

You wouldn't expect pharmacy to be such a rough business, but it sure turns out that way In Old California. Out of jealousy, Dekker conceives a plot to rid himself of his rival. Ultimately however it's Dekker who gets caught in the web of his on intrigue.

Edgar Kennedy and Patsy Kelly make their one and only appearances in a John Wayne film and they make a real nice pair for the comic relief in the film. Also look for a good performance by Dick Purcell as Dekker's far slimier and deadlier brother.

The California Gold Rush saves the Duke from one of Dekker's nefarious schemes. The Gold Rush also brings in the typhoid epidemic where Wayne's pharmaceutical knowledge and supplies are needed to fight the disease. The epidemic also brings on a blazing gun battle as well as the Duke leads a wagon train through to the gold camps.

Binnie Barnes has a nice role herself as a wise cracking saloon girl with the proverbial golden heart.

Their are plot elements here of other John Wayne films like The Spoilers and Reap the Wild Wind. In this one it's John Wayne who has the role Ray Milland had against him in Reap the Wild Wind.

In Old California is one of Herbert J. Yates's better films featuring his meal ticket. Between loaning him out to the bigger studios and centering Republic's big budget features around the Duke, Yates and Wayne did a masterful job in making him a movie legend.

12 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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