At the local saloon, prospectors Len Briggs and Bob Pliny brag about finding gold at their mine. Bad guys Tex Brandaw and Jim Rupple decide to follow the two prospectors and steal their mine. Drifter Nick Buckley who's passing through town seeking shelter for his pregnant mare is offered a drink by the two old prospectors, on the account of their recent good fortune. They also offer him the use of their shack for the night. However, bad guy Tex Brandaw suggests to Nick the use of an empty stall in the town stable instead. The two old prospectors return to their cabin where bad guys Tex and Jim await in ambush and kill the prospectors and steal the map revealing the gold mine's location. They divide the map in two sections, to prevent cheating, and split up agreeing to meet later. Tex has no intention of sharing the gold with Jim and bushwhacks him on the trail taking Jim's other half of the map. Jim pursues Tex on foot and runs into drifter Nick Buckley who left town after spending ... Written by
Near the end, when Robert Young leaves the wagon and takes the burro and goes out to catch the bad guy on foot, he has no hat. Later when he catches up to him, he has found a hat somehow out in the desert! See more »
When you think westerns, Robert Young seldom comes to mind. As an actor, he was more at home in TV's white-collar world of suburbia or a doctor's office. At the same time, he knew his limitations and never tried to be the swaggering tough guy. Here, he low-keys his role perfectly. With the help of a girl drummer, a foal, and a burro, he's tracking a guy across the desert who can clear him of a murder charge. Chapman does well as the stand-up girl, while she and Young manage several charming scenes together.
All in all, it's a rather affecting little outdoor western, made at a time when horses and dogs were popular movie fare. Here, the two critters are blended nicely into the main plot, and I like the way the foal disappoints expectations by growing into a rather homely, undersized adult. That seems to say, a critter doesn't have to be big and beautifulas in most movies-- to be worthy of affection. Note too, how Nick (Young) challenges convention by talking up women's equality at a time when Westerns-- more than most genres-- held women to domestic roles.
Also, there's an absolutely stunning Technicolor sunset about two-thirds of the way through that's the equal of any postcard framing I've seen. Plus, take a gander at all the movie's crusty old coots, Wright, Bevans, Patterson, et al., which seems to be missing only Gabby Hayes in its Hollywood lineup. Not everything however is roses. I could have done without the rather clumsy Tamiroff-Mazurki subplot, while the logic of some events does remain a stretch.
Nonetheless, this handsome Columbia programmer remains good family fare, even 60-years later.
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