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J. Carrol Naish
During the 1898 gold rush in Nome,Alaska, many miners are faced with claim jumpers bent on stealing their legitimate gold claims.The new gold commissioner, Alex McNamara, assures the miners that judge Stillman is on his way to Nome to review all legal matters concerning the mines.However, the miners grow impatient and want to settle matters the old fashioned way:with a gun.Finally, a ship arrives bringing judge Stillman and his daughter to Nome. On the same boat,local mine owner,Roy Glennister,returns to Nome and is greeted by girlfriend Cherry Malotte who's the owner of the local saloon and gambling house.But Roy is full of gallantry toward fellow boat passenger, Helen Chester,which causes a jealousy scene between Roy and girlfriend Cherry.Following their lovers' quarrel Roy and Cherry discover that judge Stillman and his legal team are phony,the gold commissioner, Alex McNamara, is corrupt and that Roy and his mining partner, Dextry, are about to lose their mine to phony claimants. Written by
During the climactic fist-fight Glennister punches McNamara who falls onto a gaming table which collapses to the floor. There is a cutaway to the town drunk and we hear two more punches but when we return to the fight McNamara is still picking himself up from the floor. See more »
In the small western town of Nome, "spoiling" is rife that is the practice of driving others off their land and jumping onto others' claims as if they were your own. Without law and order Dextry and his partner Roy Glennister risk losing their mine to a group of characters out to jump their claim. The law is controlled by Alexander McNamara who stands to greatly benefit from getting control of the mines. As if the tension between Glennister and McNamara isn't tight enough as a result of this, McNamara also has eyes for Glennister's longtime girlfriend, hostess Cherry Malotte.
Having seen several westerns from the 1950's recently, I came to this with the impression that it would be just yet another forgettable genre film and, in a way, I suppose it was. However this is not to say that it is an average film because it is actually a pretty enjoyable genre picture. The plot mixes gun fights with crime with semi-love triangles and an air of comedy. It doesn't all sit well together but it does enough to provide an entertaining 90 minutes in the way that films of this nature used to try and do for their audiences. I personally didn't buy the love conflict aspect of it and would have liked that toned down a little bit in favour of more of the claim-jumping aspect but it all did enough to distract me on a quiet evening in.
The cast are solid enough but none of them particularly stuck in my mind. Baxter is colourful and does bring life to the film but the two male leads didn't impress me at all. Calhoun is just a mould of a leading man nice smile, big chest, big jaw but nothing specific or special about him. Meanwhile Chandler just seems too old and grey for the character he is asked to play and I kept feeling like I was losing sight of him among the extras. Support from McIntire, Danton and others is OK but mostly the cast are just doing what the genre requires and no more.
Overall this is an enjoyable genre picture and it will provide entertainment for fans. The casual viewer will note the weaknesses that are inherent in this type of film but to be fair to it, it only does what you expect and for me it did it well enough to be a distracting piece of fun when I was in the mood for a solid bawdry western and nothing more.
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