"Into California's 1880 frontier country rides Robert Louis Stevenson (Edgar Barrier), the novelist, looking for story material 'in a land of stage-drivers and highwaymen', and soon finds ...
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"Into California's 1880 frontier country rides Robert Louis Stevenson (Edgar Barrier), the novelist, looking for story material 'in a land of stage-drivers and highwaymen', and soon finds it when Bill Foss ('William Bishop(I)') arrives in the mining town of Silverado with a new stagecoach." Foss barely breaks the city limits before he is challenged to a race by Zeke Butler (Forrest Tucker) , stage driver for the town's established stage-line operated by Jeannie Manning (Gloria Henry). During the race, Foss's coach is forced off the road and his best team-horse is injured. Doctor Henderson (Edgar Buchanan), noted for his philanthropies to the local miners, advises Foss he can't run his horse for some time to come, and Foss takes a job with Jeannie, hauling water to Squatter's Flats, a desert waste which requires irrigation. Later, Zeke, carrying gold from Last Dog Ditch Mine to Silverado is robbed by a mysterious bandit called The Monk,and he suspects Foss. To clear himself, Foss ... Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
"Adventures in Silverado" (1948) is an offbeat western, directed by Phil Karlson, known to me mainly as the director of a bunch of good film noirs. This western is fairly dark itself in story and tone. William Bishop, driving a team of hand-picked horses and a stagecoach, arrives in Silverado and soon finds himself being pushed around by Forest Tucker. Tucker is the driver for a stagecoach line run by Gloria Henry. Bishop controls his urge to fight back seriously because he once killed a stranger with a blow when he tried to stop a fight.
Bishop's lead horse, a white stallion named Big Fella, gets injured in an exciting coach race, one of two such episodes in the film. Edgar Buchanan, who has a substantial role as the town doctor, nurses the horse back to health. The good-hearted doctor has been assisting squatters on their barren land and trying to get them irrigation. Bishop has a great love for his team. Although he wants to move on, he's becoming attached to Gloria Henry and this irks Tucker. Henry's attachment to Bishop is on again, off again because of a trust factor and apparent evidence against him.
A mysterious robber named the "Monk" because of his concealing robe and hood, has been robbing the stagecoaches of gold shipments. Tucker accuses Bishop of assisting the Monk.
There's a lot going on here, also including the presence of writer Robert Louis Stevenson (Edgar Barrier). The film is dark in tone, noirish, because Bishop, who has a sunny disposition, is constantly being put on the defensive. Shadowed close-ups of Bishop emphasize his predicament. Tucker is a bully. The Monk is not the main antagonist. It's really Bishop's conflict and the growth of town opposition to him, fed by Tucker. However, the subplot of the Monk ties directly into Bishop's position. The film is making a transition to the more adult kind of western of later years, but as a b-movie. The major film "My Darling Clementine" (1946) had appeared two years earlier.
The stagecoach race and later a stagecoach chase are well-staged, including shots where the horses pass directly overhead. Karlson was an experienced director. William Bishop died at an early age. He's not that well-known, I'd guess, but he had a strong screen presence and is easy to get to know by his work.
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