Two men find an abandoned baby and fight over the ownership of the child resulting in lifelong rivalry.Two men find an abandoned baby and fight over the ownership of the child resulting in lifelong rivalry.Two men find an abandoned baby and fight over the ownership of the child resulting in lifelong rivalry.
Made for Pathe Pictures just before they merged with RKO, The Painted Desert is the story of two old desert rats, William Farnum and J. Farrell MacDonald who find an infant alive in a covered wagon on the desert.
For reasons I don't understand, a disagreement about whether to lay claim to a waterhole or to push on further and find enough land for a cattle ranch turns these friends into blood enemies. Farnum takes the infant and raises him as his own.
The infant grows up to be William Boyd in his pre-Hopalong Cassidy days and he becomes a mining engineer and discovers tungsten ore on the MacDonald property. He also takes a shine to MacDonald's daughter Helen Twelvetrees. Also in the race for her hand is Clark Gable.
Gable's performance as the roughneck rival to Boyd caught some attention at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and he became within a year, the studio's biggest star ever in its existence.
Possibly due to bad editing, possibly to bad writing, but The Painted Desert is far from the greatest western I've ever seen. But it yielded something far more valuable than tungsten.
- Jul 31, 2007