When Judge James K. Hardy gets a letter from an old friend, Dora Northcote, explaining she and her husband Bill may lose their ranch because an adjacent rancher won't renew their water lease contract, he takes his family with him to alleviate their frustrations at home. His wife Emily is upset with spring cleaning, Andy has quarreled with his girlfriend, Polly Benedict, while Marian similarly quarreled with her boyfriend, Dennis Hunt. But at the ranch, new problems arise. Judge Hardy invests heavily in some adjacent property to help the Northcotes and may lose it all, Marian falls in love with the older foreman, Ray Holt, even though she's not ready for marriage, and Andy's showing off causes a prize horse of Ray's 8-year-old daughter, 'Jake', to break a leg. Things look bleak for the Hardys, but not for long.Written by
Arthur Hausner <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When I first started watching the Andy Hardy movies, I couldn't stand them. Mickey Rooney was a bobble-headed buffoon who was so ridiculously ruled by his hormones that if anyone acted like that in real life, people would avoid eye contact on the street. Then, I got into a good batch of movies and started to enjoy them. With Lewis Stone giving his man-to-man talks, always having patience with his perpetually mistake-making children, and David Snell's hummable theme present at the start and end of every single volume, I looked forward to watching more. Then I watched Out West with the Hardys. Folks, this one's pretty bad.
Judge Hardy takes his family on a vacation to his friend's ranch. He confides in his sister-in-law that decades earlier, he had a romance with his pal's, Ralph Morgan's, now-wife. With that incredibly juicy tidbit implanted in the audience's mind, it's a bit of a disappointment that nothing comes of that plot point. There's no jealousy, no blackmail, no rebuffed dalliance. Instead, Lewis just tries to help Ralph financially so he doesn't lose the ranch.
The kids, Cecilia Parker and Mickey Rooney, are distracted by fresh faces on the ranch. Cecilia falls in love with single father Gordon Jones, but his daughter, Virginia Weidler, doesn't like the idea of a new stepmother. Meanwhile, Virginia gloms onto Mickey, and even though he's not interested in her in the slightest, he's determined to show her he can be as much of a cowboy as she can. Everything, from his outfit to his sharpshooting attempts, are extremely silly. The one time the movie isn't extremely silly it's pretty upsetting. Poor Virginia is put through a sad crying scene, and it's not exactly in league with the rest of the Hardy troubles. If you love horses and are drawn to this one because of the equestrian theme, I'd think twice before renting it. Stick with National Velvet instead.
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