Cowboy Ross McEwen arrives in town. He asks the banker for a loan of $2000. When the banker asks about securing a loan that large, McEwen shows him his six-gun collateral. The banker hands ... See full summary »
Cowboy Ross McEwen arrives in town. He asks the banker for a loan of $2000. When the banker asks about securing a loan that large, McEwen shows him his six-gun collateral. The banker hands over the money in exchange for an I.O.U., signed "Jefferson Davis". McEwen rides out of town and catches a train, but not before being bitten by a rattler. On the train, a nurse, Miss Hollister, tends to his wound. A posse searches the train, but McEwen manages to escape notice. However a mysterious Mexican has taken note of the cowboy, and that loudmouthed brat is still nosing around. Who will be the first to claim the reward for the robber's capture? Written by
Nicely paced Western with different kind of story line and excellent use of wide-open vistas. First half is surprisingly easy-going, even with the brief robbery scene. My guess is that McCrea had a lot to do with putting together this independent production. It certainly provides his real life wife Frances Dee with a plum part. Their growing attachment during that first half appears both real and rather charming, and also makes good use of the quietly observant Calleia and an obnoxious little boy who should be riding next to W C Fields as punishment. Then too, the apparently authentic legend of 'paso por aqui' is skillfully integrated into the movie's basic theme.
The second half is more routine as the posse tries to track down McCrea while he flees across the badlands. The afflicted ranch scene is rather overdone as is the heavenly choir at the end. All in all, we don't need to be hit over the head since the movie's intentions have been clear for some time. An interesting question concerns whether the story would have achieved more clout had we not known early on that McCrea was stealing the money for noble reasons, though I don't believe we ever find out the details. Two good unexpected touches-- the bull ride to throw off the posse, and what a sight that makes! Also, despite all the eager bounty hunters with their six-guns in evidence, I don't believe a single shot is fired throughout the 90 minutes.
Perhaps that last point is not too surprising since the personal McCrea appears to have been very much his own man, and not exactly the flashy Hollywood type. One thing for sure, he never overplayed any of his many roles. In fact, his presence here does nothing that would call attention to himself. In a part that calls for an air of quiet nobility, that's exactly what we get and to fine effect. Too bad, those quiet manly virtues from overlooked performers such as McCrea are largely absent among today's many over-sized movie egos.
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