John Abbott returns to the desert land he owns, and after being wounded by hired gunman Chick Chance, he is befriended by rancher Andrew Naab and his son, Marvin. Naab's daughter, Marian, ...
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Chet Kasedon is after the Indians hidden gold mine but Chief Moya will not reveal it's location. He has also hired mining engineers Gale and Mortimer to locate the mine. When Gale sees Kasedon's cruelty to Moya, he switches sides.
In the pre-Civil War South, a plantation owner dies and leaves all his possessions, including his slaves, to his young son. While the deceased treated his slaves decently, his corrupt ... See full summary »
Nabb controls the pass and lets all the ranchers through except Holderness and his stolen cattle. When Nabb refuses to sell, Holderness works an his son Snap who has run up gambling debts. ... See full summary »
J. Farrell MacDonald
A Los Angeles socialite kills a man while home alone one night and claims he was an intruder she did not know. It seems like a clear case of self defense until the story hits the papers and people connected to the dead man come forward.
John Abbott returns to the desert land he owns, and after being wounded by hired gunman Chick Chance, he is befriended by rancher Andrew Naab and his son, Marvin. Naab's daughter, Marian, falls in love with John but is about to marry Snap Thornton to keep a promise made by her father. She runs away on her wedding day but is captured and held hostage by outlaw Henry Holderness. John, the Naabs and fellow ranchers rush to her rescue.Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Although this film retained its original title when it was re-released nationally in 1950 by Favorite Films, when it was sold to television, the title was changed to 'Heritage of the Plains', most likely to protect theatrical re-release showings which were still in progress in some territories. In Detroit, it was first telecast Sunday 25 October 1953 on WXYZ (Channel 7), in New York City Wednesday 20 January 1954 on WCBS (Channel 2), and in Los Angeles Saturday 26 June 1954 on KNBH (Channel 4). In San Francisco, it first hit the airwaves Tuesday 10 May 1955 on KPIX (Channel 5). See more »
By "great cast," players of no great fame these days, I mean actors of talent and ability.
Zane Grey often badly over-wrote his stories including dialog, but Norman Houston, the script writer of "Heritage of the Desert" has put together a thoroughly believable story and dialog, apparently with the help of "additional dialogue" by Harrison Jacobs.
About 20 minutes in, the female lead, played by Evelyn Venable, explains why her family, despite the vicious opposition by the bad guys, intends to stay put, to remain on the land they have reclaimed from the desert.
Her face and her verbalizing feel so true, especially, perhaps, to me because I too love the desert and I understand very well what she means.
Russell Hayden plays the brother. He was a good-looking and very likable actor who sometimes seemed to have trouble enunciating. Here he is as close to perfect in his performance as any actor can be.
There are some wonderful relationships to watch in "Heritage," presented in poignant fashion, and not something we usually find, or find so beautifully done, in a B western. Or in any movie.
Watch, especially, "Father Naab," the daddy, Andy, played so well by Robert Barratt.
Bad guy "Nebraska" is another absolute wonder. Actor Willard Robertson has what might be his best-ever role, and does he play it to the hilt. This is an eye-opening performance.
Donald Woods is the nominal star. He is a nice-looking, mild man, a very good actor as a city boy trying to fit into the Wild West. This is a different role for him, to my knowledge, and he plays it as if he's done it a thousand times.
"Nosey" "I didn't learn how in no college" is played so beautifully by Sidney Toler, I had to look twice at the IMDb credit listing. I've never seen him in a role like this and he is just marvelous.
Either Nosey or Nebraska could be said to have stolen this movie, their roles are that good.
Paul Fix is just superlative as the breezy "Chick Chance," a happy killer and all-round bad guy. When given the chance to let his personality out, Mr. Fix can mesmerize.
Paul Guilfoyle has a really difficult role as "Snap." You will have mixed emotions about him, but I won't say more. No spoiler from me. But he does an excellent job with his character. He seems to be a trained stage actor and handled this part really well. (I plan now to read his bio here at IMDb.)
Lesley Selander is one of the great pro directors. There is one director flaw here, involving a box of dynamite, but try not to notice. It doesn't hurt the movie, just Mr. Selander's reputation for perfection.
Camera angles and editing merely add one more layer to the excitement.
All in all, from major to minor player, to the story, the dialog, the scenery, this is a great motion picture. I want to see other versions later, partly to compare, partly to enjoy again the story. And I highly recommend this 1939 version, which is available at YouTube.
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