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Along Came Jones (1945)

Approved | | Comedy, Romance, Western | 19 July 1945 (USA)
A good-natured saddle tramp traveling with his sidekick, is mistaken for a ruthless outlaw with a price on his head.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Avery de Longpre
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Leo Gledhill
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Ira Waggoner
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Pop de Longpre
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Sheriff
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Luke Packard
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Kriendler
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Boone
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Storyline

Riding into Payneville, easy-going cowboy Melody Jones is mistaken by the townsfolk for notorious gunman Monte Jarrad. The real Jarrad is hiding out wounded on the ranch of childhood sweetheart Cherry. She has the idea of sending Jones off to decoy the pursuing posse, but once he's met Cherry, Jones has other plans. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

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IT'S THE WEST AT ITS BEST! WITH ROOTIN'...TOOTIN'...SHOOTIN' COOPER! (original ad - all caps)


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Release Date:

19 July 1945 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

American Cowboy  »

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(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

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1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Loretta Young was pregnant with her son Christopher Lewis during shooting and was told by her doctor to take it easy because of all the horseback riding she had to do during filming. See more »

Goofs

When Loretta Young shoots a hole in Gary Cooper's hat, a hole appears - when Cooper turns around to go in the barn, there is no exit hole in the back of his hat. A .45 would have gone through both sides of a felt hat. See more »

Quotes

Melody Jones: But you don't want to forget: when a posse makes a mistake, it's a mighty hard thing to unmake.
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Connections

Featured in John Wayne Made Me Cry: Our Western Heros (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Old Joe Clark
(uncredited)
Traditional
Sung by Gary Cooper
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User Reviews

 
What Did Cherry see in Monte Jarrad?
11 September 2005 | by See all my reviews

THE OX-BOW INCIDENT was produced in 1943 to critical acclaim as a scathing look at vigilante justice, with well delineated characters. Two years later Gary Cooper produced (for the only time in his career) and starred in this film, ALONG CAME JONES, which dealt with some situations and themes that were remarkably similar to THE OX-BOW INCIDENT, albeit in a lighter mood. Instead of seeing how vigilante justice was not justice but widely organized murder, here we found ourselves looking at the various vigilantes and parties as frightened non-entities or short-sighted boobs.

As in THE OX-BOW INCIDENT, we have two "saddle bums" riding into a town following a crime. There Henry Fonda and Harry Morgan, despite a brawl in Victor Killian's saloon, are accepted by the vigilantes as members of their posse (Morgan volunteers them, as he figures Fonda and he may be suspected as the murderers if they don't go along). They do try what they can to stop the lynchings of Dana Andrews, Anthony Quinn, and Francis Ford, but fail because they are outnumbered (and out-gunned). In ALONG CAME JONES, Melody Jones and George Fury (Gary Cooper and William Demerest) are two "saddle bums" riding into a town following a crime. But everyone reacts strangely to them (the sharper Demerest realizes this when they constantly call him "Uncle Roscoe", and when the townspeople keep swallowing downright insulting behavior from Cooper). It is only later that they learn from Cherry De Longpre (Loretta Young) that the initials on Melody's belongings "M.J." are the same as the wanted man Monte Jarrad, who is a notoriously nasty customer and killer. The references to "Uncle Roscoe" is to a half-wit uncle who accompanies Jarrad (whom the town folk think is Demerest - something that almost drives him up a wall). It doesn't help that both Jarrad and Jones are of similar heights and builds, and that the locals have not seen Jarrad for five years.

The willingness of the locals to shoot first and ask questions later is shown by the number of times people get a bead on Cooper (who, ironically, is not only pacifistic but relatively inept with a gun). But each time they do that somebody intervenes in some way that prevents them from completing their desired objective - ridding the world of the man they think is Monte Jarrad. This is not like the situation in THE OX-BOW INCIDENT, where (unfortunately) the lynch mob is well run by the local deputy and a former Confederate major. Here the conflicting reasons for people to go after Jarrad helps prevent them time after time from doing in Jones.

We also are brought up short on one point that Walter Clarke's novel THE OX-BOW INCIDENT dismissed to heighten it's irony. There the victims of the vigilantes were innocent (although one, Anthony Quinn, had a "colorful career including a knifing incident). In ALONG CAME JONES, Monte Jarrad (Dan Duryea) is being searched for by not one but four vigilante groups. He has killed men in a stagecoach robbery, so he is sought by the stagecoach company for its money, the sheriff for murder, and the federal Marshall (some mail was stolen too). He has killed people from a large, powerful family in the territory too, so they are searching for him. As you can see Monte is not a nice guy. He's not like Dana Andrews in THE OX-BOW INCIDENT. In Duryea's superb performance, he is a nervous, suspicious, mean tempered s.o.b. That he was wounded in the robbery (and cannot get to a doctor yet) has increased his worst habits. But one senses that he was never far (in his personality) from his currently lousy personality.

Which leads to the one flaw in the film. Cherry's character is connected to Monte. Her brother and dad are members of his gang. She is his girl. At one point she tells Melody that Monte and she grew up together. To an extent this explains how she might have some loyalty to her childhood companion, but Cherry can't help seeing Monte's basically rotten disposition and his murderous temper. Yet she is loyal enough to him to try to use an unaware Melody as a bait to draw away these various vigilante groups so that Monte can get away. She says (later to Melody) that she knew it was the only chance Monte would have. But why did she feel Monte deserved this chance? In the end, as the number of dead increase (mostly due to Monte's temper), and as she gets to know the sweet tempered Melody better, Cherry changes to be more critical of her old childhood acquaintance. In the end she has to resolve the crisis of the film over who will win out, Monte or Melody. But why it took her so long to realize the truth just is not settled.

Nevertheless, the film is a funny horse opera. Melody and George are as funny as traveling companions as Jimmy Stewart and Henry Fonda in THE CHEYENNE SOCIAL CLUB. There, Fonda spends the first three and a half minutes chattering away while the two are just aimlessly riding their horses. At the end of that time, Stewart pointedly asks Fonda if he realizes that he has been talking for nearly 1000 miles! Here Demerest (clearly the wiser of the two in the film) tries to talk sense to Cooper, only to find the latter dreaming of becoming a greater man by capturing the fearsome Duryea, or of doing all sorts of dangerous things for Young (even though Young admits they are foolhardy and dangerous). And all Demerest gets in return are additional choruses of Cooper's favorite song, "Old Joe Clark". But Cooper does show a real loyalty to his friend in the end. It is when Duryea (for typically mean reasons) critically wounds Demerest that Cooper decides to do what he can to bring the desperado down.


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