Union officer Kerry Bradford escapes from Confederate Prison and is set to Virginia City in Nevada. Once there he finds that the former commander of his prison Vance Irby is planning to send $5 million in gold to save the Confederacy.
Australian sheep-man Morgan Lane comes to Montana looking for government-owned grazing land, and encamps his sheep at the boundary line (where the bad grazing ends and the good grazing begins) set up by the cattle barons to keep the sheep from nubbing away at the good grass. He goes to town, posing as a merchant, explains his Australian accent, and learns that Maria Singleton, owner of a large ranch, and Rodney Ackroyd (who never explains where he got his name), another ranch owner and Miss Singleton's fiancée, are the leaders of the cattlemen against the sheep-men. Romance tugs at Morgan and Miss Singleton, who quickly decides that Morgan has a much better name than Rodney (and other attributes) but the cattle-vs.-sheep feud keeps them apart. Until they meet in the street for a showdown gunfight following a disastrous clash between the cattle and sheep factions. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Montana is directed by Ray Enright and adapted to screenplay by James R. Webb, Borden Chase and Charles O'Neal from a story by Ernest Haycox. It stars Errol Flynn, Alexis Smith, S.Z. Sakall, Douglas Kennedy, James Brown and Ian MacDonald. A Technicolor production with cinematography by Karl Freund and music by David Buttolph.
Flynn plays an Australian sheepman who comes to Montana looking for grazing space but finds local ranchers and a wealthy cattle-woman are greatly opposed to his plans.
Warning! Sheepherders Passing This Point Will Be Shot On Sight.
Just how many films are out there about the Sheep Vs Cattle Wars? What an interesting subject, that cattle ranchers were convinced that sheep were detrimental to the land and therefore a threat to the beef money market. This forms the basis for Montana, a modest budgeted production that never the less has glorious Technicolor to digest and Errol Flynn as a tough handsome dude.
Much of the film is given to talking about the sheep and cattle conundrum, with some duplicitous behaviour, ulterior motives and political nest feathering thrown in for good measure. Naturally there's a fiery romance bubbling away between Flynn and Smith, where they even duet on a song, "Reckon I'm In Love", while there's fist-fights, stampedes and some buckaroo to achieve the action quotient on "B" movie par. Some bad rear projection work shows its face from time to time, a shame because there's a lot of nice scenic photography to enjoy. But the best feature away from Flynn being Flynn, is that Technicolor photography, check out Smith's flame red hair and eyes chipped from Kryptonite, a dinner sequence rich in colour composition or just how the costumes burst out of the screen. This is a beautiful movie to look at even if it's routinely scripted from the page. 6.5/10
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