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Jim Redfern dreams of owning his own cattle ranch and along with his partners Mike Evans and Ling heads off on the Cariboo Trail into the interior of British Columbia. There's a gold rush on and along the way they're joined by old-timer Grizzly Winters, a prospector who hasn't had much luck of late. They soon come up against Frank Walsh whose men stampede their cattle. Evans is severely injured forcing Redfern to amputate his left arm. Evans hates him for that and will have nothing to do with him or his dream of the cattle ranch. Walsh owns the local town making it difficult for Redfern to get re-established. Things begin to go his way when he finds gold. Written by
Randolph Scott is leaving the USA for the greener pastures of Canada's British Columbia. He wants to start a cattle ranch there with partner Bill Williams and cook Lee Tung Foo. They stampede their small herd over a toll bridge erected by Victor Jory. Later Jory rustles their cattle and Williams loses his left arm during the fracas.
From 1945 until 1962 when he retired, Randolph Scott made a series of good adult themed westerns, some of them considered real classics. Unfortunately the Cariboo Trail will never be listed among his best westerns.
It's more like the material that Roy Rogers or Gene Autry might use. The story is downright silly at times. Williams who was along for the ride with Scott, he wanted to go prospect for gold as there was a big strike at the time. He doesn't blame the rustlers, he blames Scott for convincing him to make the trip for the loss of his arm.
Also there's a scene in the film when Scott, Lee Tung Foo, and Gabby Hayes are captured by Indians. They escape because Gabby's mule has been taught to kick on command and he kicks away at the Indians allowing our heroes to escape. I'm not sure that would have played in a Rogers film.
Furthermore the story actually wants you to believe that tyro prospector Randolph Scott accidentally stumbles on a gold strike after just a few lessons from prospector Gabby Hayes on how to find gold.
This was Gabby Hayes's farewell feature film part. It would have been better had he gone out in a good western and in fact he had done a couple of better ones with Randolph Scott before this.
I will say this, though no Caribou made any appearance in the film, this is one of the few Canadian locale films from the past that did NOT have any Mounties.
But if I were you unless you are a big fan of Randolph Scott or Gabby Hayes, take the next detour off The Cariboo Trail.
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