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Old Los Angeles finds Bill Stockton leaving Missouri to join his brother Larry, and prospect for gold in California. Bill and his pal, Sam Bowie, arrive in the picturesque town of old Los Angeles in 1848, but find that the outlaws rule... attacking mines and trains, burning ranches, looting stores and killing those who oppose them. Bill learns that Larry has been murdered for the gold claim he had staked for them. He sets out to avenge his brother's death but runs into difficulty when Estelita Del Rey misleads him to protect her lawless lover, Johnny Morrell. Bill also suspects Luis Savarin, gambling house proprietor, and Marie Marlowe, an entertainer at Savarin's place. Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
My brother Larry had written from Los Angeles - which was just a dusty pueblo in those days. He said that California was a land of vivid contrasts; great snow-capped mountains and broad fertile valleys, where Mexican and newly arrived American settlers lived in peace and friendship. This seemed mighty good to me - I wanted to see it all from those mountains clear down to the broad blue waters of the Pacific. Then Larry's next letter arrived. It wasn't a very ...
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John Carroll's charming, but very coldblooded villain steals the film from stoic hero Wild Bill Elliott. But in doing so Carroll guaranteed Old Los Angeles a place among the top Elliott westerns of his career.
Old Los Angeles takes place during the year of 1850 just prior to California's admission to the union. Things moved at a rapid pace in those years in California. A decade earlier California was Mexican territory. In 1848 it came along with the rest of the Mexican cession to the USA, in 1849 gold was discovered and the place rapidly filled up with population and in 1850 it was ready to admitted to the Union as a free or slave state depending on what the politicians in Washington, DC decided.
Successful prospector Henry Brandon is relieved of his work of many months and then shot in the back by his good friend Carroll who heads an outlaw band. At least up front he does. The US marshal Grant Withers actually does and behind him where even Carroll doesn't know about it is gambler/saloon owner Joseph Schildkraut who dreams big about a California Empire. He's descended from both Mexican and Czarist Russian people and believe me having Schildkraut being even part Russian is no accident in 1948.
But Brandon had written to brother Bill Elliott back in Missouri where Elliott was a lawman to come west and join him. Elliott does along with sidekick Andy Devine and when he hears about his brother's death, there's no stopping him in finding out who the guilty ones are.
Although she generally played a lot of comic characters in Republic Pictures, Estelita Rodriguez strikes a real poignant note as the woman who stands by her man even though her man John Carroll is no good. She's got quite a bit on Catherine McLeod who is a more traditional western leading lady for Bill Elliott.
Carroll with a bit better breaks could have had a far more successful career. Among other things he had a great singing voice which you hear a bit of in Old Los Angeles. You can hear more of it in Rio Rita opposite Kathryn Grayson. As for playing rogue he did that well too in such films as Randolph Scott's Decision at Sundown and Flying Tigers with John Wayne.
This is a great film from Republic Pictures and a great introduction to Wild Bill Elliott westerns.
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