Cheerful outlaw Charlie Boles leaves former partners Lance and Jersey and heads for California, where the Gold Rush is beginning. Soon, a lone gunman in black is robbing Wells Fargo gold shipments. One fateful day, the stage he robs carries old friends Lance and Jersey...and notorious dancer Lola Montez, coming to perform in Sacramento. Black Bart and Lance become rivals for both Lola's favors and Wells Fargo's gold. Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The story is narrated by one of three outlaws (Percy Kilbride) who looks back upon his career with Black Bart (Dan Duryea) and Jeffrey Lynn. Kilbride played country roles. Although born in San Francisco, he speaks here with almost a Maine accent. Lynn doesn't usually play thieves, but he is able to mix charm with a hard streak. Duryea shows a great capacity to make any line interesting. Duryea and Lynn compete for the affections of Lola Montez (Yvonne de Carlo) who does some pretty good dancing to a nondescript tune.
Duryea is attempting to bankrupt Wells Fargo by robbing its stagecoaches of money so that he and others can replace its business. However, Lynn and Kilbride show up unexpectedly. They had split earlier. Their trust level is not exactly high because Duryea had outwitted Lynn out of money that Lynn thought he was going to get by outwitting Duryea.
The technicolor is gorgeous. The love rivalry is well-stirred with humor, action, stirring music, the crime elements and tension between Duryea and Lynn. The latter and their acting make the movie. Don't expect a happy ending, because this story has no real hero. That makes it quite unlike most westerns.
Lloyd Gough, John McIntire and Frank Lovejoy provide support, but their roles do not really allow them to stand out.
Not a western that will win any awards but one with a different kind of story delivered in a professional way.
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