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Union officer Kerry Bradford escapes from Confederate Prison and is set to Virginia City in Nevada. Once there he finds that the former commander of his prison Vance Irby is planning to send $5 million in gold to save the Confederacy.
Earp agrees to become marshal and establish order in Tombstone in this very romanticized version of the gunfight at the O.K. Corral (e.g., Doc is killed by Curley before the actual battle and Earp must do the job alone).
"Coroner Creek" marked a departure for Randolph Scott in the character he plays. He usually played square-jawed righteous heros with a clear set of moral values. In this film he plays a character bent solely on revenge, even to the point of almost shooting the villain in the back as he tries to escape. He is driven by hate and has few if any redeeming qualities.
Scott is on the hunt for the person responsible for his fiance's death. He finally tracks him down in the town of Coroner Creek and sets out to force a final showdown. True to the Hollywood Production Code of the day, Scott's character sees the error of his ways at the end.
"Coroner Creek" boasts an excellent cast. George Macready plays the chief villain in a cold, cruel and calculating manner. Marquerite Chapman is the nominal heroine who tries to get Scott to change. Sally Eilers as a rancher and Barbara Read as Macready's alcoholic wife are the other female characters. Edgar Buchanan plays the spineless sheriff who eventually finds his courage and Wallace Ford plays Scott's only real friend and ally.
The rest of the cast is made up of many veterans of "dusters" both of the "A" and "B" variety. On the wrong side of the law are Forrest Tucker, Douglas Fowley and Joe Sawyer. On the right side of the law are Russell Simpson, William Bishop and Forrest Taylor. Charlie Stevens appears as (what else?) an Apache who provides Scott with information on the killer. And if you look close you'll see Joe DeRita (of the Three Stooges) and Dewey Robinson as bartenders.
"Coroner Creek" was a grim, realistic western for its time. Don't miss the brutal encounter between Scott and Tucker about half way through the film.
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