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Along the Great Divide (1951)

6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 842 users  
Reviews: 15 user | 6 critic

A U.S. Marshall and two deputies rescue a cattle rustler from a lynch mob led by a local cattle baron convinced that the rustler also killed his son.

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Title: Along the Great Divide (1951)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Marshal Len Merrick
...
...
Billy Shear
...
Timothy 'Pop' Keith
...
Deputy Lou Gray
Hugh Sanders ...
Frank Newcombe
Morris Ankrum ...
Ed Roden
James Anderson ...
Dan Roden
Charles Meredith ...
Judge Marlowe
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Storyline

New Federal marshal Len Merrick saves Tim Keith from lynching at the hands of the Roden clan, and hopes to get him to Santa Loma for trial. Vindictive Ned Roden, whose son Ed was killed, still wants personal revenge, and Tim would like to escape before Ned catches up with him again. Can the marshal make it across the desert with Tim and his daughter? Even if he makes it, will justice be served? Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

AN ADVENTURE THAT AVALANCHES FROM THE BULLET-PROOF ROOF OF THE ROCKIES TO THE FIERY DESERT FLOOR! (original print ad - all caps) See more »


Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

2 June 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Travelers  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Morris Ankrum played Ed Roden in this movie and the 1956 Cheyenne remake "The Travelers". See more »

Quotes

Timothy 'Pop' Keith: [In the midst of singing "Down in the Valley"] I never thought I'd be singin' my way to my own trial.
Marshal Len Merrick: [Painfully listening to him continue to sing] Mister, they're trying you for the wrong crime.
See more »

Connections

Remade as Cheyenne: The Travelers (1956) See more »

Soundtracks

Down in the Valley
(uncredited)
(aka "Birmingham Jail")
Traditional American folk song
Sung by Walter Brennan and Virginia Mayo
See more »

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User Reviews

very entertaining western
4 August 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I must say, this is one of the most entertaining westerns I have seen.If you like multiple complicated, vacillating, personal relations between the main actors under trying conditions, this film is for you. I have noticed that such scenarios are a frequent feature of films directed by the director of this film, Raoul Walsh. Examples I am familiar with include: the John Wayne western 'Dark Command', the Clark Gable western 'The Tall Men', and the western 'Saskatchewan'. Of course, there is always a knockout feisty woman involved, however unlikely. This story even more strongly resembles the John Wayne western 'Tall in the Saddle', in that both are 'Who done it' mysteries, in which the real murderer is not revealed until near the end. Also, in both films, the hero has to deal with a wild cat woman who alternatively is trying to kill him, while gradually falling in love with him. This film also shares the theme with 'The Ox-bow Incident', for example, that sometimes a lynching mob is going to lynch the wrong person, whose presumed guilt is based only on circumstantial evidence, mistaken identity or person grievances. It also illustrates the point that sometimes a jury trial is no better than a vigilante mob, condemning an innocent person, again, based on incomplete or faulty information or prejudice.

Kirk Douglas, as the leading man, was one of the most charismatic actors Hollywood was fortunate to discover. Unlike many leading men, he was an excellent character actor, not just playing himself as a star, over and over. Here, he plays a sheriff who feels duty-bound to save a man from a lynching, then bring him into a distant town to stand trial, with the same probable outcome. While on the trail, it is brought out that he is haunted by a rather similar incident that resulted in his father's lynching. Walter Brennan, one of the most charismatic of Hollywood supporting actors, plays his usual role as a crusty old man, full of earthy wisdom, as well as a few foibles. Virginia Mayo shows that she could convincingly play a feisty wild cat, in contrast to her frequent roles as mostly a pretty face. She was also featured in the highly rated Raoul Walsh-directed western 'Colorado Territory'. Throw in a central jealousy between the the sons of a neighboring cattle baron, and the trials of a long dangerous journey across a nearly waterless desert, and you have the makings of a rip-roaring story.

As others have pointed out, there are a few glaring holes, improbable coincidences or implausibilities in the plot, but that is a common fault of many an entertaining film. For example, Brennan's character readily admits that that he rustled a few cows from his wealthy neighbor, but denies he killed the son sent to track him down. The emphasis throughout the film is placed on the question of his guilt regarding the murder, whereas cattle or horse stealing alone was often considered sufficient grounds for a lynching in the Wild West. Yet, Brennan's guilt as a rustler seems forgotten in the finale. Of course, once we had Douglas, Brennan and Mayo together interacting, we could guess the probable formulistic ending. Again, this was to be expected of most Hollywood films of this era, and does not really detract from the many dramas, twists, and turns, in getting to the unlikely happy ending.


3 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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