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William A. Wellman
Despite some decent acting, the film is too clichéd to recommend it.
1875 crash in meat market usual cliché--the hidden (but obvious) baddie trying to take over; also the familiar cliché of the hot-headed boss and the loyal guy for no discernible reason.
This film is set in 1875 and apparently the market for beef has crashed. All the ranchers are in dire financial straights because of this. And, like about 75% of the westerns of the era, there is an evil boss-man who is trying EVERYTHING to destroy the ranchers. And, typical of this far over-used cliché, he has a private little army of thugs who steal cattle and kill in. Heck, before any of this occurred, I KNEW what was going on, as the baddie is Barton MacLane--who is almost ALWAYS the evil boss!!
"Cow Country" also has another cliché--not as over-used but still too familiar. There is the strong-willed rancher who won't listen to anyone (Robert Barrat). And, typical of this cliché, there is a nice guy who, in spite of this rancher's pig-headedness, is still very loyal and will do anything to help him (Edmond O'Brien).
Now if you haven't seen hundreds of westerns before, you may not notice these as very familiar characters. In this case, the film will probably be a lot better. All I could think was that I've seen most of this before (apart from the crash in the beef market). It's a shame, as O'Brien and Barrat were fine actors and were, frankly, better than the material they were given.
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