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The U.S. government recognizes land grants made when the West was under Spanish rule. This inspires James Reavis to forge a chain of historical evidence that makes a foundling girl the Baroness of Arizona. Reavis marries the girl and presses his claim to the entire Arizona territory. Written by
Erik Gregersen <firstname.lastname@example.org>
James Addison Reavis (1843-1914) was a real person who, as depicted in the movie, was found guilty of attempting to steal most of Arizona by forging land grant documents. He paid a fine of $5,000 and served two years in jail. See more »
In one of the boldest land grabs in US history Confederate vet Samuel Reavis through energetic and ambitious duplicity managed to claim and convince the government and the land's occupants that Arizona Territory belonged to him through his wife by way of recognized Spanish decree who supposedly deeded the rights to her family. In the Baron of Arizona Sam Fuller does an effective job of briskly and clearly detailing the convoluted and exhausting efforts of Reavis but his threadbare production values and awkward handling of tension inducing moments fails to do the audacious act itself justice and the film fails to ignite.
After his quirky directorial debut in I Shot Jesse James Fuller follows up with another offbeat Western legend in Reavis and while Vincent Price has the sinister chops and countenance to smugly bamboozle those that need to be he fails abjectly when called on to wield weapon or punch it out with the locals. In a sloppily edited climax, Price with a rope does save his best for last but the film's solid story begs ( and deserves) a bigger budget with more of a two fisted huckster (Douglas or Lancaster) in the lead displaying more energy and guile, less contempt and condescension.
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