Tall in the Saddle (1944) Poster

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Very enjoyable, with a genuinely interesting female character
lwalsh11 July 2005
There are better Westerns than 'Tall in the Saddle', but very few that are as much sheer fun. The plot is conventional, but the performances elevate the film above the ordinary, especially that of Ella Raines as the wild-spirited ranch operator. Raines is simply a hoot to watch, especially in the three way meeting between her, John Wayne, and Audrey Long in which she makes it clear that Wayne's expectation that no woman is going to "hogtie and brand him" is already in trouble. Watch her face; she manages to pack coyness, bravado, sensuality, wit, and smugness into a comparatively brief scene without ever overreaching herself. She's handy with a gun, with a knife, and with Wayne. The result plays off and balances Wayne's traditional laconic approach very effectively, and thus helps give Wayne's character more depth than was often the case in his mid-40s Western programmers (notice his reaction after his first encounter with Raines; for once in a Western you feel that there's a genuine reason for the hero ordering a whiskey in the middle of the day). I recommend this film highly; it's unpretentious, crisply made, and very enjoyable.
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"Boy, Oh Boy. Has Somebody Come To Town."
bkoganbing2 August 2004
One of the best of John Wayne's westerns is Tall In The Saddle which came out in 1944 for RKO. Good characterization with a little more plot than the usual western.

Wayne is the straight arrow Joel McCrea-Gary Cooper like hero who's come to town because he's been sent for by Red Cardell, a local rancher who's concerned about an outbreaking of cattle rustling. When Wayne arrives he finds Cardell murdered and a few others occur before the truth comes out.

Wayne has two leading ladies, prim and proper easterner Audrey Long and hard riding Ella Raines. Raines in those tight cowboy outfits is something to see. Her scenes with the Duke have some real spark to them. Raines had a Lauren Bacall-like appeal and should have risen higher as a movie sex symbol.

Old friends of the Duke like Ward Bond and Paul Fix are in the cast as is Gabby Hayes. Hayes, who was the quintessential cowboy sidekick was never better than as Dave, the old stagedriver who befriends the Duke and sticks with him when it gets pretty dark for him. I remember Gabby Hayes with his television show for kiddies in the 1950s and supposedly he was anything but the illiterate old coot he normally played. During his pre-Stagecoach period, Hayes appeared in several films with Wayne. In fact my title quote is one of two favorite lines he says in Tall In The Saddle.

The other favorite line is a piece of wisdom that's just as valuable today as in 1944. When the Duke asks Gabby how he feels about law and order, Gabby replies "depends on who's dishing it out."
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Excellent John Wayne western
Steve-3189 September 2001
You might want to look into the work of director Edwin Marin if you're not already aware of the man. While not in the first line of star moviemakers like John Ford or William Wyler, Marin kept busy with a steady stream of lesser-known but immensely-viewable films throughout the 1930's and 1940's (Marin died in the saddle in 1951).

Check out "Tall" for a good taste of Marin's style. You'll find plenty of John Wayne, hellcat Ella Raines, wonderful Gabby Hayes (who gets knocked down twice while Wayne punches out a villain in one hilarious scene) plus Wayne/Ford touring company regular Ward Bond who plays the heavy in this one.

There's a lot going for this film--a love triangle around the nonchalant Wayne, a full quota of western chase scenes, a showdown in the streets and some snappy dialogue to boot.

It's a fun film and worth catching the next time it rolls across the small screen on "John Wayne Theater."
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Entertaining Western
Panamint8 August 2005
Perfectly paced film. Many older films as well as new ones are not as successful as they could be due to poor pacing. It's hard to define pacing - it is maybe in the editing, the director rushing or slowing down the actors, or the way the camera shots are set up. Whatever "pacing" is, this film is a good example of it.

This film makes very good use of character actors (Fix, Gabby, and the others). The producers trusted them enough to really feature them in some scenes, and they deliver. It seems that most producers (in the 1940's as well as today) are afraid to take the camera off the film's star for fear of not making big box-office.

Wayne does a great job in a no-nonsense, straight-arrow role. It is amazing how he could make such a character charismatic, rather than wooden. Ella Raines and Wayne should have made more movies together because they had good chemistry. More importantly Raines was capable of portraying one of the major character traits of the western United States expansion- strong women.

Film buffs can view "Tall in the Saddle" as good movie-making, but anyone can just view it as good entertainment and not even stop to analyze anything. Perhaps that is the genius of a film like this.
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There is a new stranger in town.
lee18816 February 2005
This is one on John Wayne's better early western movies. The plot is very good and the movie moves along at a good pace. It has all the elements of a good western movie. Bad guys against the good guys. John Wayne is the stranger in town that no one knows and two women want. Ella Raines plays one of the women who is just as tough as the Duke. And she is just absolutely beautiful in this movie. The chemistry between John Wayne and Ella Raines is right on the money. Audrey Long plays the more timid woman, who is controlled by her aunt.

It doesn't take long for things to heat up in this movie. There is good humor supplied by none other than the great Gabby Hayes. Ward Bond plays the low down dirty lawyer/judge. Paul Fix (pre Rifleman) as one of the bad men. A must see movie
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Beautiful Ella Raines
Frank19382 July 2005
This is one of the old movies I watch year after year. John Wayne in his prime & Ella Raines seems to be ideal for her role. I do not remember seeing her in another movie where she is as beautiful as she is in Tall In The Saddle. To see all the old timers such as Gabby Hayes, Ward Bond, & Paul Fix among others is a treat for an old western fan. The back ground viewed from the the wild stage ride is sort of phony, but have to remember this was in 1944. Still I enjoy it each time I see it. It brings back memories of a simpler time when I use to go to the Rialto Theatre on Saturday afternoon, pay 15 cents for admission & spend a dime on popcorn & drink
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My favorite John Wayne western
the_old_roman3 September 2001
Fast-moving, well-acted, and impeccably directed, this is my favorite John Wayne western of all-time although the Quiet Man is my favorite John Wayne movie. The plot is intelligent; the dialogue is crisp; the supporting characters are fascinating; and the chemistry between Wayne and Ella Raines is magnificent.

Well worth watching.
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A really original and witty movie, perfectly executed
FabD114 August 2005
I think this is a top-notch film. First, and perhaps most importantly, this film cannot be categorized as belonging to any particular, well identified genre. Indeed, the film is best described as a very original mix between a Western, a thriller/detective story, a love story and a romantic comedy with strong existentialist overtones. I am not kidding, you have to see it to believe it! All this perfectly integrated in as perfect a script as there ever was.

Second, the movie is very well executed. All actors are quite good, starting with the young Duke, who delivers a very solid and typical performance. The directing is also first-rate, as is the cinematography (as far as be judged from the rather good Laserdisc and DVD transfers); only the editing does perhaps leave something to be desired, but not to the point of preventing appreciating the other qualities of the movie.

I'd like to finish this review by emphasizing that my rating (7/10) is actually pretty conservative and prudent. If I were to go by my heart and forget about my "brain", I would rate this movie a 10/10.

Trust a movie buff and rent or buy "Tall in the Saddle"; you will not be disappointed.
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Plenty of Action in This Wayne Oater!
bsmith55527 August 2005
"Tall In the Saddle" is one of John Wayne's better westerns of the first half of the forties. It contains plenty of action including fistfights, shoot outs and an eternal triangle.

A stranger named Rocklin (Wayne) arrives in town on a stagecoach driven by a whiskey swilling driver named Dave (George "Gabby" Hayes)seeking a local rancher Red Cardell who had offered hum a job. It turns out that Cardell has been murdered and his niece Clara Cardell (Audrey Long), along with her crusty old guardian Miss Martin (Elizabeth Risdon) have come to claim her uncle's ranch. Judge Garvey (Ward Bond) is looking after the Cardell's affairs and has plans of his own for the property.

Meanwhile Rocklin faces down young Clint Harolday (Russell Wade) in a card game and sends the young man home embarrassed. The next day Rocklin encounters Clint's firebrand sister Arly who takes after him with her gun. However,there is an immediate attraction between the two although Rocklin is also attracted to the lovely Clara at the same time.

Judge Garvey and Miss Martin scheme to wrest control of the Cardell ranch from Clara. Rocklin takes a job with the Harolday ranch at the request of Harolday (Donald Douglas)to keep an eye on things and find out who murdered Cardell. Of course he clashes with Arly and she winds up firing him.

Later Rocklin is framed for the murder of young Clint and flees the town seeking to clear himself. Arly along with her sinister bodyguard Taro (Frank Puglia), who has witnessed the murder, also seek the truth. Finally Rocklin has a showdown with Garvey and his boys (Paul Fix, Harry Woods) learns the identity of the real killer and.........

Wayne is Wayne the true and honest rough and tough hero once again, a role that he had come to perfect. Raines is beautiful and feisty as the scrappy Arly. Audrey Long is more of the stereo typed western heroine as Clara. Gabby Hayes, in his final appearance with Wayne is well, Gabby Hayes the cantankerous old timer that we all came to love. Ward Bond makes a swarthy villain. Oddly enough, although he and Wayne were life long personal friends, they did not appear together that often prior to this film. Frank Puglia as the sinister Taro was unbilled in this film but stands out nonetheless.

In addition to Harry Woods and Paul Fix (who also co-wrote the script), there are several western veterans in the supporting cast. Look for Raymond Hatton as Hayes' drinking pal, Emory Parnell as the sheriff, and Cy Kendall, Russell Simpson, Eddie Waller, Hank Bell and Clem Bevans in a variety of roles. And from the blink and you'll miss him department, a very young Ben Johnson as a townsman.

Good entertainment.
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Superb John Wayne vehicle
mhflight10 February 2008
For lovers of black and white westerns, 'Tall in the Saddle' is first rate entertainment. It is good old fashioned fun from beginning to end, and it manages to incorporate elements of film noir, comedy and romance. There is plenty of action along the way too and a number of twists and turns in its' plot. All of which prevents it from being the standard affair it could have ended up as without its' host of top notch performances.

The star of the film is John Wayne and it is I feel a good role for him. Although it lacks the depth of his greatest performances in the likes of 'Red River' and 'The Searchers', it does have the light hearted element of 'Rio Bravo', undeniably one of his career highlights. He stars as Rocklin, a tough cowboy recruited by a rancher named Red Cardell to help stop an outbreak of cattle rustling. He is apparently immune to the charms of women- "I never feel sorry for anything that happens to a woman." When he steps off the train however his new employer has been murdered and Rocklin has to find out who is responsible for such a brutal act.

It is after he beats Clint Harolday (Russell Wade) at cards that he comes face to face with the losers' angry sister Arly, played by the beautiful Ella Raines who despite falling for Rocklin almost instantly and although clearly considerably shorter in height than him, is determined to stand up for herself- "I always get what I want". Very soon they are engaged in a humorous battle of the sexes which Arly is determined not to lose, despite her obvious attraction towards the Dukes' character. The exchanges between the pair are sexy as neither is prepared to swallow their pride to give in to the other; "You might as well know right now that no woman is going to get me hooked, tied and branded"/ "Don't be so sure. Don't think I'm doing badly." Witness the pleasure Arly gets in sacking Rocklin from her employment, and her boasts of making love to him. This is the only Ella Raines film I have seen to date but I really loved watching her and would jump at the opportunity to see another of her performances.

Contrast Arly with the other glamorous lady in the film- Clara Cardell (Audrey Long)- and you have two entirely different women. Although also interested in Rocklin Clara I would say is sheepish and easily dominated by her spiteful, stuck up aunt Elizabeth Martin (Elisabeth Risdon) who hides from her niece a secret that links Clara and Rocklin and this explains her disdain for the latter- she tells Clara to stop "throwing yourself at that wretch". Risdons' character has little time for many townsfolk- "The rudeness of people in these parts is appalling". Frankly most people feel the same way about her.

Many of the best scenes in the film (and certainly the funniest) involve Dave the alcoholic stagecoach driver (played by the wonderful George 'Gabby' Hayes). Just watch his introduction as Blossom the horse knocks over his priceless bottle of whiskey- "I oughta poison you!" His charismatic, accident-prone character has many great lines, for example his analogy of whiskey and women- "They both fool you but you never figure how to do without them." He is even referred to as a "hairy beast"- no prizes for guessing who by. Add to the mix the great support of the ever dependable Ward Bond as Judge Garvey, one of the villains. He rivals Rocklin for toughness and they engage in a great fist fight.

The setting is typical of the genre, with many of the western hallmarks such as a dusty town in the middle of a desert containing cactuses (the latter are missed out in many westerns but not this one), a card game, a stagecoach, alcohol and gun fights. But less typical is the noir element- the hero being framed for a murder crime he did not commit for example, which results in a classic whodunit. Another western which to me is reminiscent of film noir is Pursued (1947).

Overall then a hugely enjoyable movie which does exactly what it sets out to do- it entertains throughout and I'm sure audiences who saw this film at the cinema went home happy!
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Turning point for Duke's career tho most film historians ignore it
richardrandbman21 November 2007
Several things make this B western look and act like an A picture. Not least is the obvious 'chemistry' between Wayne and Ella Raines.For once a female dishes it out and Wayne loves it. But, the most important aspect of this film is the characterization Wayne imbues in his role as 'Rocklin', a somewhat mysterious cowpuncher. He seems able to make men stop in their tracks by a certain glare or tone of voice. He is no longer a sweet natured cowpuncher who somehow stumbles into his predicaments.This time he's rather mean and if he can answer you in one or no words he does.

In later years Wayne developed this "loner"/ "don't mess with me" type to such a degree that it has become part of movie lore.We take it for granted .This was the film where it burst full fledged on to the screen.And I believe the "macho walk" for which Wayne is so famous was displayed as never before in a showdown with his old nemesis in many 1930's films, Harry Woods. For me this was the obvious lead-in to his monumental performance in "Red River"
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One of my all-time favorite movies
chipe13 August 1999
This is, perhaps, my favorite movie. I like John Wayne and westerns. What I loved about this flick is Ella Raines. She looks and acts great. Her bantering with Wayne is delightful. Great role for Wayne, too -- strong, silent type, mysterious stranger. Good poker game scene. Good Gabby Hayes humor.
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Something special
stuart-43229 October 2014
The entire cast of this film are as near to flawless in their performances as is possible. Marin's direction, the writing of Fix and Hogan... it is all drawn together to deliver a very special experience for those of us lucky enough to enjoy it.

The word "masterpiece" is over-used, so I will simply remark that this film is something special. It is difficult to envisage it working in any other setting than the American west. It is a "western"... but oh so much more as well.

Gabby Hayes delivers a performance which can only be described as "iconic". For someone who many say could not act, John Wayne's portrayal of a man with hidden wounds as he boards the stage with Gabby Hayes at the beginning of the film is subtle and under-stated but very, very good. For those who wonder what I am blathering about, consider the line "I never feel sorry for anything that happens to a woman." The dialogue throughout is first rate and where else could you see a thoughtful John Wayne in an apron, kneading dough ? Ella Raines's entrance into the story is packed with power and intensity... and she never lets up for the rest of the film. A memorable performance.

There are extraordinary depths to this film. It seems to me that the writers and the director were well acquainted with how humankind can get it "wrong". There are no really "bad" people in this film... just people who, through weakness, delusions about who they are and what they are entitled to... mess up their own lives... and the lives of others. Note that these people tend to be "professionals"... with definite hints of accountancy or legal qualifications. They've missed "the point" and all that life has to offer.

Like all great films, it is clearly a team effort... and when they made this one, boy did they have a team.
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The kind of John Wayne Western you always wanted to see but wasn't sure existed
the_great24 April 2011
Out of nowhere comes a stranger. Silent, mysterious... You hear about the clichés, but certain clichés are more talked about than seen. How many times we want The Duke to just kick some butt, only to see someone like James Stewart or Montgomery Clift knock him down. Even in Stagecoach he lets himself captured. Enough of the dark side, where's our hero?

He's in this one, Tall In The Saddle. I'm so happy I found this film. John Wayne in his most heroic form! With iron fists and swagger that charms the hottest ladies. Ella Raines, hubba hubba! The story is fast moving and wild, with all the characteristics of a fine mystery.

The positive reviews are right on the money. The trailer doesn't show all the best action, just gives you a taste. This forgotten gem needs to be preserved among the finest examples of the art form known as Traditional Western, polished and put on Blu-Ray. Holla if you hear me!
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" Ella Raines Tames John Wayne "
PamelaShort26 September 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Tall In The Saddle is considered a grade B western for John Wayne, only because it falls short of the John Ford directed masterpiece, Stagecoach. While it is a typical oater, it is still a very interesting story, in its portrayal of women and their effect on the tough and rugged Wayne. Ella Raines is the star in this film, as she whips Wayne into shape, resulting in having the hardened misogynistic character, softening and learning to respect women as people. Ella Raines performance in this film is meritorious and she proves, in this her fifth film, how versatile an actress she is. Her portrayal of the feisty Arleta is played with a perfect blend of sharpness and toughness needed to tackle the callous Wayne character. Tagging along faithfully, is the lovable Gabby Hayes, who always adds the right amount of comic relief, as he plays the most cantankerous old coot in this film. Elizabeth Risdon is outstanding playing the strict crabby guardian of her sweet niece, played by Audrey Long. Ward Bond is always a strong, fine fixture in Waynes movies. This film turns into a real gem because it is so well executed by all the actors, add some really fine cinematography, first-rate directing, and you have a very enjoyable John Wayne movie. It should also be noted that John Wayne liked the script which was co-written by Paul Fix, a friend of Waynes, and a supporting player in many of his films, including this one. Tall In The Saddle, grossed an impressive hefty $4million in 1944. I have watched this western movie many times, and it never fails to satisfy.
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Not a "B" Western
weezeralfalfa26 May 2007
One of my favorite westerns. I own a copy. The plot is complex enough to be worthy of Cecil DeMille, though directed by Edwin Marin. Some have categorized this as an overgrown "B" western, but I see nothing "B" about the cast of main actors nor the story line. Of course, we soon figure out that Wayne and Ella Raines' character were made for each other, but the "right" woman doesn't quite always end up with the hero in such films, as for example in "The Far Country". We are kept in suspense through most of the film as to who killed Red Cardell and why, and who has been trying to ambush Wayne and why. We also wonder what Wayne's real motive is for sticking around after discovering that Red Cardell, whom he presumably never met, is deceased. It's always a treat to have Gabby Hayes back in a Wayne Western. Ward Bond, another fixture in !940s and 1950s Wayne films does well as a prime suspect for being responsible for the plot shenanigans and in piecing things together at the end. Audrey Long is perfect as the prim naive beauty from the East, as is Elizabeth Risdon as her scheming arrogant old battle-axed of an aunt. Wouldn't the latter and Gabby make a lovely couple! Ella's character may have been a more exciting lover and companion than Audrey's, but if I were Wayne, I'd be extra careful about getting involved with a hot-tempered jealous tomboy who thinks nothing of using me for target practice with her pistol and knife! there are a few seemingly incongruous details to the plot. Why does Ella's bodyguard hold off telling who killed Clint Cardell? Does he want Wayne to take the blame? Jealous? Perhaps he doesn't think anyone would believe him or maybe he doesn't think the legal system will do justice. Or, perhaps he did tell the real reason to Ella. As is true of westerns in general, vigilante justice seems to be condoned by the main characters as the most just and efficient way to rid society of evil people or those who have done you personally wrong....As a side note, this film should not be confused with the later Clark Gable western with the somewhat similar title "The Tall Men"
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Absolutely Brilliant!!!
merkred22 March 2004
I've just watched this film on BBC2 and I really enjoyed it! It's one of the best westerns I've seen, and believe me, I've seen hundreds if not thousands! It abounds with great characters but I must admit it was wonderful to see Gabby Hayes appear so much throughout the film. This film is better than a lot of other westerns and is good enough to merit a release on DVD!!! Watch it if you get the chance and you won't be disappointed.
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My 341st Review: One of the best
intelearts23 September 2010
This is just simply a cracking movie with a great plot, a real western's western. there is something simple, uncontrived, and intrinsically right about Tall in the Saddle that most other western's try to capture. There are no Indians, no gold rush, no gunfighters, instead we get a simple plot about a man who discovers corruption and wants to do something about it.

The film is beautifully shot, the B & W cinematography accents both the poverty at the stagecoach stop at the beginning and the light in the hills later on are outstanding.

But for me what makes this really special is the outstanding romance, Haines is at her most stunning and simply drop-dead gorgeous here, and even 75 years on, she and the Duke light up the screen magnificently.

All in all, a great movie: if Western's are about being strong while still caring, being independent, and about bravery then this is all it should be. Shame it's seen so seldom and so little known compared to Wayne's bigger films - definitely recommended.
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This is one of my most favorite John Wayne movies.
Globobsr14 April 2001
This is an excellent movie for all western movie fans to see. The movie has a little of everything, action, mystery, drama, and even a little romance. All the leading stars are very very good in their perspective roles. Hope all you western fans enjoy it as much as I did and still do. I watch it everytime the movie is televised.
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Ella Raines & Wayne Were Terrific
whpratt123 May 2007
Missed viewing this great Western Classic from 1944 which had a great story and John Wayne (Rocklin) played the stranger who was invited to this town which was being controlled by Ward Bond,(Judge Robert Garvey) who is the bad guy with the black hat and who loves to play poker with a marked deck and causes guys to get shot in cold blood. Robert Garvey is also involved with land squandering and causing all kinds of problems. Ella Raines, (Arleta Haralday) plays a very sexy spoiled brat who always gets what she wants and she sure had some very romantic scenes with Rocklin) Ella Raines was at the top of her career and John Wayne performed at his very best. Enjoy
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Enjoyable and lighthearted western
nnnn4508919119 September 2006
This is a a fun western. It introduced the John Wayne persona which he cultivated through the next decades and made him the legendary icon of the west. The movie is very entertaining and Ella Raines as a hot-tempered female gunslinger has great chemistry with Wayne. Gabby Hayes does his usual old cuss,and provides the movie's best comedy parts. The story mixes romance,comedy and mystery elements and blends them into a an above average western programmer. There are some great scenes in the movie: The poker game and the showdown between Wayne and a drunken bad guy. If you're looking for a good time you should watch this entertaining little western.
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never thought an early black&white western could be this good
BasicLogic19 October 2014
very good screenplay with the nicest and funniest supporting actor playing both drunk and smart guy at the same time. Wayne also played well in this gem with two pretty young actresses. these two young ladies were the stereotypes of females in the western genre films; one strong, tough and independent, while the other, educated, reserved, conservative, timid sometimes, yet when needed to be strong and decisive, could also became strong willed and stubborn. Wayne did a great job to handle all the tough situations with handgun and fists. the screenplay was well crafted with lot of funny and wisecracking dialog, delivered by the funny old drunk, a stage coach driver and at the same time, a decent soul to be a sidekick when you needed it. lots of fun and lots of tensions, but everything turned out to be just fine and everybody got what he or she deserved. a rarely fine old western in the best form that had been long gone today. beautiful cinematography, beautiful scenery, even in black and white. very enjoyable indeed.
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Fast-Paced 1944 Wayne Adventure With Good Characters and Strong Storyline
silverscreen88817 October 2005
As reviewers have noted, this is an unpretentious character western from 1944; I find it to be long on action and broad comedy touches, with an interesting and influential central character, Rocklin, played attractively by John Wayne. The basis of the plot is that he was hired by a rancher he did not know, as foreman, and when he arrives in a town he finds the man is dead, his ranch has been inherited by a young woman, and there is a rival ranch's owner who becomes interested in his services. This happens because woman-resenting Wayne gets into a card game with Ellen Drew's brother, son of the second ranch's manager, and is cheated. He gets a gun comes back downstairs and demands his money. Next morning, the brother gets Drew to get the money back; he ignores her, even though she shoots near him and goes off into the saloon. She gets furious at the brother and Wayne. But she talks her father into hiring Rocklin, so she can get even with him. Also prominent in the cast is George "Gabby" Hayes, stealing scenes as a hard-drinking stage driver, his drinking buddy Raymond Hatton, Ward Bond as the Judge, Elizabeth Risdon as the new owner's abominable female relative, Audrey Long as the inheritrix, Emory Parnell as the crooked sheriff, Paul Fix as his crooked sidekick, Don Douglas as the ranch manager, George Chandler as the town blacksmith, Russell Wade as the manager's cowardly son and Harold Woods as Fix's dangerous brother. Rustling has been going on in the area--from the cacti it appears to be Arizona--and the manager wonders why Rocklin should be paid a foreman's wages. His handling of Fix's brother with a pistol over the head settles that question. The manager sends Rocklin to check on cattle in high country; he is shot at, along with Hayes, in a line shack. Drew appears as they hunt the sniper, and fires him. He tears up the contract and kisses her, knowing why she resents his strength. Back in town, he reports to the manager what happened. The son, Clint, shot to warn him off; but he cannot prove it. And the inheritrix comes to the hotel to ask his help; her guardian Aunt is claiming she is underage so she herself can dispose of the ranch for the profit with the crooked Judge's aid. The crooked Judge burns the letter of proof; Rocklin searches his office over his objections. They fight, and he knocks the Judge out. Men pour in but the Judge says nothing happened and orders them out. Back at the hotel, Rocklin finds Drew insulting the inheritrix, calling herself his girl. He denies it. Trying to find out the truth--the Judge had attacked him for finding incriminating papers in the desk--he has Gabby bring Clint in so he can question him. He is slapping him into admissions when a shot rings out from the window, and a gun is tossed in. He tries to tell the truth but has to use the gun to get away from the townsfolk and the Judge. Drew is told he did not kill he brother by her Spanish servant; Rocklin hides in Gabby's wagon and they head for the inherited ranch; Drew hurries to beat the Judge and a pursuing posse back to the same destination; there, the older woman is being guarded by the evil Clews brothers, and the inheritrix is in danger. Drew's horse stumbles, so she has to ride double with her servant. Everyone converges on the ranch where the real mastermind behind the plot is unmasked and killed, in a surprising and very satisfying finish. This swift- moving adventure, with its three strands of a woman-hating loner, a mysterious man coming into a dangerous situation and a crooked local figure with henchman has been copied hundreds of time since; its title has become a western cliché. Director Edwin L, Marin did well indoors as well as out in my view. Gordon Ray Young's good story was written for the screen by Michael Hogan and actor Paul Fix. Among the cast, Wayne is handsome and promising; Hayes and drew are charismatic and memorable, and Donald Douglas as Harolday the manager is very good. Everyone else, including Audrey Long and Ward Bond, playing against type, is up to the task or better. Look for Frank Orth, Frank Puglia, Clem Bevans and Ben Johnson among the townsmen. Roy Webb provided suitable music, Robert de Grasse did the consistent cinematography, with art direction by Ralph Berger and veteran Albert d'Agostino. Darrell Silvera and William Stevens did the set decorations with gowns by Edward Stevenson. This movie might be remade profitably owing to its fine storyline, I suggest; the playing against type of the hero as resenting women because they do not play by the code of the west I find to be interesting and later much imitated, a big step forward toward producing more individualized western. The print I saw had been colorized, for the most pat satisfactorily.
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A great movie!!
rapzz20 May 2008
I'm a retired "old guy" that enjoys movies that are made well..and this movie is well worth watching. Not just for the slightly different ending, but the interplay between the actors is absolutely great. As an example, watch the Wayne-Hayes combination as Hayes drives the stage coach down a mountain grade. Hilarious!! Ella Raines is one of the most underrated actresses of her time. In this movie she shows a nice range of emotions exceedingly well. Raines is an absolutely gorgeous gal, especially in this movie!! My only complaint is that Audrey Long is under utilized in her role. Too bad as she had (and still has at age 86) CLASS with a capital "C"!!! In real life she was an absolute stunning beauty - one of the few times that the camera wasn't able to capture an actresses' true beauty (even though she looks great in the movie).

Ward Bond, Gabby Hayes, and a host of recognizable others, all blend together to make watching this a very enjoyable experience.

I have this movie on DVD and play it probably once a month (more when friends come over and request a viewing). And with each viewing, it only gets better.

If you're not exactly a John Wayne fan, it doesn't matter, you'll find this movie well worth watching!
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"Boy, oh boy, has somebody come to town."
classicsoncall26 April 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I'll have to second and third a handful of other reviewers on this board, this was an exceptionally fine, post-Stagecoach John Wayne Western that has a good story line and a couple of pleasing to look at leading ladies. Wayne's character is Rocklin, no first name ever mentioned, though Gabby Hayes has no problem calling him Rock from time to time. I got a kick out of Gabby's description of Arly Harolday (Ella Raines) after she shakes things up in Santa Inez following Rock's rousting of her brother Clint (Russell Wade), why she's meaner than a skillet full o' rattlesnakes - very descriptive!

Now one observation I'll make about John Wayne. I've seen all of his Lone Star Westerns from the mid 1930's when he was churning them out at the rate of seven or eight films a year. He looked real young and handsome back then in his mid-twenties, but only a decade later he appeared to have seasoned into the quintessential John Wayne 'look'. In fact, he looks perhaps to be in his forties rather than his thirties. Anyway, that's the way I see it.

What makes this picture so interesting, apart from Rocklin's investigation of the murder of Red Cardell, is the obvious chemistry going on between Wayne and his pair of leading ladies. Meaner than rattlesnakes Arly makes no bones about it, while the more demure Clara Cardell (Audrey Long) pines for him with rather more understatement. I was actually rooting for Clara for most of the picture, right up until Rocklin called her 'cousin'. Should have seen that coming, but the writers did a pretty good job of keeping Rock's identity under wraps until late in the picture.

Say, remember when Arly and her bodyguard Tala (Frank Puglia) took the short cut through the pass and she fell off her horse? When she got up, her horse didn't have a saddle - how did that happen? And not for anything, but I'll have to see this picture again to clear something up unless someone can explain otherwise. When Clint Harolday is shot through the window of the hotel, I could have sworn that it was Judge Garvey (Ward Bond) who grabbed the gun from Rock's holster. But later on, it's revealed that the uncle Harolday (Don Douglas) did it. What did I miss?

Anyway, this is a real enjoyable Western and John Wayne fans ought to be pleasantly surprised. You even get to see him reprise a familiar Lone Star type ending when the film closes out with Rock and Miss Arly in more than a clinch to wrap up the picture. If you stick around long enough for the closing credits, you'll also learn that this film was #854 on the country's 'Overseas Program' roster during the War years.
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