Wounded while stopping the James gang from robbing the local bank, a cowboy wakes up in the hospital to find that he's been elected town marshal. He soon comes into conflict with the town ... See full summary »
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S. Roy Luby
John 'Dusty' King,
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Erich von Stroheim,
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Wounded while stopping the James gang from robbing the local bank, a cowboy wakes up in the hospital to find that he's been elected town marshal. He soon comes into conflict with the town banker, who controls everything in town and is squeezing the townspeople for every penny he can get out of them. Written by
Any film with Richard Dix is worth a chance not only because he's a likable and powerful figure but he seemed to bounce around the edges of the studio system so that his films vary standard formulas in unpredictable ways. The Kansan's saloon sets are excellent, for instance, and the crowds well directed--other posts mention the remarkably modern dance number (with perspectival backdrops) and the extended brawl with well-choreographed sequences and character highlights. Outdoor cinematography at the toll-bridge across which several incidents of the plot transpire featured impressive depth and angle.
A big stable of acting talent also raises this film's quality, but I'll let other posters provide those kudos.
My only difference with other posters is their near-blanket condemnation of the Bones character played by the terrific William Best. Certainly most of the film's racial dynamics are regrettably stereotypical, but Dix and Best interact as two smart guys recognizing each other. The film's single best moment for me was when the Jory character enters Best's servant quarters at the Sager Hotel. When Jory walks in, the Bones character is READING, which suggests that not just Willie Best but his character knows that Bones's minstrel persona is an act. Further, when Jory leaves the room, the door swings shut to reveal a portrait of Lincoln.
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