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André De Toth
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After the Civil War, Michael "California" Random, is released from prison and goes to Missouri with his partner William. He is killed by bandits. California decides to return the belongings to his family and help them against outlaws.
"Wicked" Lily Bishop joins a wagon train to California, led by Michael Fabian and Johnnny Trumbo, but news of the Gold Rush scatters the train. When Johnny and Michael finally arrive, Lily is rich from her saloon and storekeeper (former slaver) Pharaoh Coffin is bleeding the miners dry. But worse troubles are ahead: California is inching toward statehood, and certain people want to make it their private empire. Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
Army deserter Ray Milland leads a wagon train, including woman-of-easy-virtue Barbara Stanwyck, on its way to California, only to find the gold rush in full effect and the territory overrun by scoundrels, like megalomaniac slave-ship captain Barry Fitzgerald.
The excellent photography, with equally excellent use of Technicolor, good direction by John Farrow, and Milland's brooding can't quite overcome the overly talky script, the datedness of the songs, and the fact that Stanwyck's character is quite unappealing most of the time.
However, for those of us who grew up watching Ray Milland playing old curmudgeons in various B-movies of the sixties, seventies, and early eighties, it's interesting to see him in his prime, playing a rugged leading man.
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