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The workers on the railroad haven't been paid in months --- that's because Whitey and his gang, including fast-shooting, dangerous, but likeable Utica Kid, keep holding up the train for its payroll. Grant McLaine, a former railroad employee who was fired in disgrace, is recruited to take the payroll through under cover. A young boy and a shoebox figure into the plot when Whitey's gang tries to hold up the train and Grant and the Kid meet again to settle an old score. Written by
Worth seeing because it's a Jimmy Stewart movie, but not exactly great stuff
Jimmy Stewart made some wonderful Westerns in the late 1940s and through the 50s. Compared the the average Western of the time, they had rather complex and featured non-traditional plots. As a rule, I actually hate the formulaic Western, as they have absolutely nothing new to offer and are just too derivative to be taken seriously. While this movie does have some new plot devices and the excellent acting of Stewart, this movie is the closest of these Westerns to approach the old formulaic themes. As a result, it is probably my least favorite of his films, but it is still pretty watchable.
Stewart, uncharacteristically, is a traveling accordion player (I am NOT kidding about this, really) and he has been doing this job for several years since being blamed for a train robbery (he was working for the railroad at the time). This film gives him a chance to prove himself and regain his old job with the railroad. But, along the way he encounters Brandon DeWilde (the cute kid from Shane who was killed at a very young age) and Audie Murphy (the war hero and actor who also died way too young). Aside from these two characters and Stewart, nothing about the plot is particularly outstanding. A decent and watchable film, but awfully predictable and forgettable.
By the way--a note to movie buffs--you DO get to hear Jimmy Stewart sing several songs in this film! While his singing was absolutely awful in BORN TO DANCE, in this film it isn't bad--the loud and cacophonous according did great things to hide his less than stellar voice! If only he'd used it in this previous musical!!
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