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Fred F. Sears
When the Daltons are killed at Coffeeville, gang member Bill Doolin arriving late escapes but kills a man. Now wanted for murder, he becomes the leader of the Doolin gang. He eventually leaves the gang and tries to start a new life under a new name. But the old gang members appear and his true identity becomes known. So once again he becomes an outlaw trying to escape from the law. Written by
Maurice VanAuken <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In one of the few times in Randolph Scott's career he played a real character, he's notorious outlaw Bill Doolin who was active in the Oklahoma Territory in the Gay Nineties until the law took its course.
Scott had previously played Wyatt Earp in Frontier Marshal and Bat Masterson in Trail Street and was Sam Starr in Belle Starr. But here he plays real life outlaw protagonist Bill Doolin in his own starring film and not in support of Gene Tierney in Belle Starr or a legendary good guy as in the first two. But after watching The Doolins of Oklahoma you'd think Bill Doolin was forced into a life of crime.
No doubt Bill Doolin (1858-1896) may have been forced economically to turn outlaw, but he certainly did take to the trade, much like his earlier peer Jesse James. The film does touch upon parts of the Doolin legend, such as him being in on the Dalton gang raid in Coffeyville because he was holding the horses. You can't reduce Randolph Scott to holding horses so in this film his horse pulled up lame.
His band certainly had some colorful names and in fact those were the names of his men. I liked John Ireland and Noah Beery, Jr. best of that bunch. George MacReady who showed up in many a Scott western, here is a U.S. Marshal for a change and ostensibly a good guy for once.
It's not history, but it's a good Randolph Scott western that forgets the facts and films the legend.
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