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Wildcatter Johnny Maverick and his pal, Chicopee Nevins are speeding toward Antril Bend, a small town in the oil region, that has offered $25,000 to the person bringing in the first oil well.They accidentally find oil on the town's outskirts, and Johnny writes a $4000 hot check for the property. He covers that by having Chicopee sell his half interest to oil promoter Gus Sloane for $7000. Sloane hires a crew to start drilling on his half of the property, with Johnny's old enemy, Mile Rawlins as his foreman. Rawlins sabotages Johnny's rig, causing Chicopee's death. Confidence man Oliver Westbrook and his confederate, Nan Dearing hatch a plan to swindle Johnny by having Nan pose as Chicopee's sister. It works and Johnny makes Nan his partner. Another accident staged by Rawlins forces Johnny to sign a note to get money for repair. Nan falls in love with Johnny and abandons her plan to swindle him. As the note deadline approaches, Johnny learns that Sloane has purchased it as a means of ... Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Richard Arlen was apparently a favorite player first of B film producers William Pine and William Thomas and later of A.C. Lyles who kept this man busy working through the Forties up to the Sixties. Never a major film name after the early talkies Arlen did some fine work in some good entertaining films. Wildcat which was a Pine-Thomas production for Paramount's B unit is an example of that work.
Driving along Arlen picks up a hitchhiker in Elisha Cook, Jr. and the two take a liking to each other. Arlen has been in the oil business for years, but always working for wages that someone else pays. He wants his own well and he's quite the promoter. He especially wants to beat out Buster Crabbe whom he worked for before and who stiffed him and others on wages. Crabbe and Arlen go into a race with adjoining wells to see who brings in a gusher, the winner gets $25,000.00.
Arlen may think he's an operator, but he's got nothing on William Frawley and his female come-on partner Arline Judge. When Cook is killed in an accident, she pretends to be his mourning sister in order to cut her and Frawley in on the well. But as these happen in the movies romance develops.
The obvious comparison to make with Wildcat is MGM's Boom Town on which a far more lavish budget was spent. Pine-Thomas did not have the lavish budget or the big name cat, but they did well in this economy conscious film, carefully integrating stock footage. They got good performances out of the ensemble cast, my favorite being William Frawley who turns out to have a sentimental streak in him.
Wildcat is still fine entertainment and Pine-Thomas brought home another economical winner.
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