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Enjoyable old western
headhunter4614 January 2018
I thoroughly enjoyed this early movie with John Wayne. He was very good in his part I thought. He was truly becoming the guy most Americans Identify with. I read elsewhere that movies Vera Ralston appeared in did not make money. I'm not sure why unless Americans just had a hard time with her accent. She was lovely, acted her part well, even added a good degree of humor from time to time. This movie was released on Christmas day 1945. I wonder if folks were so happy to have the war over and short of cash that they passed on the movie for those two reasons. John was well liked by then so he should have been a box office draw,0 and Vera was not well known such that she would be a deterrent.

Anyway, I liked it. Hope you do too.

I found it on Youtube. It had two or three short commercials, just a bit distracting not too bad.
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A Perfect Saturday Morning Western
herb_at_qedi23 January 2005
This is the most enjoyable "B" Western I'd seen in quite awhile. It is fast-paced, mostly light-hearted yet doesn't stint on the serious implications of the dramatic sequences; it makes you feel and believe the human tragedies that would occur if town boss Bender (Ward Bond, marvelously effective and subtle as smooth-talking and thoughtful villain) were to be successful at bankrupting his fellow townspeople, paving the future railroad towns with the rubes' broken dreams. John Wayne was starting to solidify the nucleus of the stock company of supporting actors he would make many movies with in the future (on hand besides Bond are Paul Fix, Walter Brennan, Grant Withers, Olin Howard, Bruce Cabot, and Mike Mazurki.

Wayne is perfectly cast as the rough-and-tumble gambler who falls for railroad heiress Vera Rhuba Ralston, much to father Hugo Haas' chagrin who is a rather slick and powerful operator himself. The twist here is that Ralston is as cunning and devious as her Dad and new husband combined, and is continually effective in steering things in the direction she wants them to flow. Not normally a Ralston fan, I thought she played the role with flair, attractiveness, and a perfect energy level. She doesn't have the on-screen chemistry with Wayne that Maureen O'Hara or Gail Russell later did, but when your husband owns the studio, you don't want to allow the chemistry to get too real-looking. Ona Munson as "Jersey" is hotter and makes both her scenes memorable. Walter Brennan is perfectly cast as a persnickety riverboat captain, and Nick Stewart provides able comic assistance as his blunt first mate(Racially stereotyped, of course, but still very funny, and not at all demeaning if you look at it objectively). Bond and Mazurki are excellent as the deceptive villains. Fix and Withers are professional and provide subtle special touches as Bond's hired guns.

Given the budget and the generally pedestrian record of Director Kane, this is actually a surprisingly well made. My demands/expectations of this oater were small when I tuned it in on the Encore Western channel. I was looking for a fast-paced, check-your-brains-at-the-door oater to have on in the background as I picked up around the apartment. Instead, not only is it tautly directed, fast-paced, wry, and well-acted, but it has an extremely well-crafted adapted screenplay from Carl ("High Noon") Foreman. The insights conveyed by the script, even including some of the background and "throwaway" lines, are literate and register long after the lines have passed.

Overall, this movie can be recommended on many levels. Deapite it's quite modest roots, it is a durable, high-spirited, well-acted, and well-directed oater that also is exceptionally well-written. Not the type of title that will impress your art-house buddies, unless they accept your challenge and actually watch it before they write it off. Those actually watch it are in for special treats.
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Effective black and white settler western with John Wayne
Leofwine_draca25 March 2017
Warning: Spoilers
DAKOTA is a surprisingly decent John Wayne western, well-shot in 1945 and featuring the famous actor playing a small-time gambler who elopes with his love to the West, only to discover that his intended homestead is controlled by a pair of criminals who are up to all kinds of no good in order to keep an iron grip on the land. Conflict ensues.

Despite some indifferent reviews, I thought this film told its story very effectively and with a maximum of intrigue and excitement. Wayne gives a fine fine and assured performance as the smooth hero and Vera Ralston matches him as a love interest you can get behind. Ward Bond and Mike Mazurki make an imposing couple of villains and the rest of the cast is full of familiar faces and/or larger than life characters. There's not really a wealth of action here, but that which does occur is great fun; the hold up on the river boat and the climactic shoot-out are the highlights.
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Those Burning Fields of Wheat
bkoganbing8 June 2006
Dakota finds John Wayne running off with Vera Hruba Ralston, daughter of railroad magnate Hugo Haas. A whim of Ralston's finds them on the way to Dakota Territory instead of the Duke's planned trip to California.

Before long Wayne finds himself mixed up with the local farmers and their running battle with town boss of Fargo, Ward Bond and his three loathsome sidekicks Mike Mazurki, Paul Fix, and Grant Withers. Mike Mazurki is a particularly nasty individual here, he probably has the best performance in the film.

Dakota was directed by Joseph Kane who directed at Republic a whole lot of Roy Rogers B westerns and he uses the same fast pace here. The running time is only 82 minutes and a Wayne film from Republic was an A product for that studio by 1945.

One big drawback in Dakota is the portrayal by Nick Stewart as Walter Brennan's crew on his river steamboat. It's a pretty bad stereotype one of the worst I've ever seen on film.

Dakota also shamelessly rips off the wheat burning scene from Samuel Goldwyn's The Westerner. I wouldn't be surprised if Goldwyn let Yates use some of the footage from The Westerner for a rental fee.

However fans of John Wayne and of westerns in general will like it.
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It is Vera Hruba Ralston that commands.
tmwest3 August 2005
Vera Ralston was an actress that was cast into films because she was married to the big boss of Republic. In Dakota she comes out surprisingly well as Sandy Poli a determined woman, daughter of a millionaire who marries John Wayne. He wants to go to California, but she chooses Dakota and from then on she is the one who makes the most important decisions for the couple. It is not usual to see John Wayne in this situation but it makes the film more interesting. There are two familiar actors also, Walter Brennan and Ward Bond. It is remarkable that with a low budget they made quite a convincing scenery of what Fargo,Dakota must have looked like. The movie is quite entertaining except for the fact also mentioned in one of the comments, that they make too much use of scenes taking place at night. No need for that, it only makes it harder to understand what is going on.
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Big John saves the wheat fields.
michaelRokeefe5 August 2003
John Wayne plays a gambler that comes to the aid of wheat farmers being swindled by crooked land grabbers. This is a fast paced 82 minute Republic Pictures movie with an obvious low budget look. A pretty good shoot 'em up though. Other stars include Ward Bond, Walter Brennan and Nick Stewart. Was not impressed with Wayne's love interest Vera Ralston. Burning of the wheat fields is dramatic. And of course The Duke saves the day.
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sub-par John Wayne
MartinHafer16 March 2006
This is one of the worst John Wayne flicks of the 1940s. By this point in his career, Wayne was now a star and deserved better material and a better leading lady. If you compare this film with THEY WERE EXPENDABLE, which came out the same year, the contrast is great. DAKOTA is simply a B-western with lousy and very confusing writing. While it has good supporting actors in Ward Bond and Mike Mazurki, Vera Ralston as Wayne's wife is incredibly wooden and she sports a bizarre accent that can't be accounted for in the script (her dad seemed like he had a French accent and she was Czechoslovakian). Most of the time, she's kind of pretty to look at, but becomes more of an annoyance than anything else. It was hard to figure WHY Wayne would have married such an idiot in the first place! The only reasons she got ANY roles is that her lover was the head of Republic Pictures--otherwise, she was much more of a liability than an asset. As I already mentioned, the plot is completely convoluted--and I really had to struggle to figure out what was going on. Part of this COULD have been because the movie just wasn't engaging. This is a forgettable film and only of interest to big fans of John Wayne. There are so many better Wayne films available--try watching one of them first.
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A moderately enjoyable Christmas gift, for fans of Westerns and John Wayne!
talisencrw6 May 2016
This was one of those B-movie Westerns John Wayne had to pay his dues, and learn his craft in, on his way to superstardom and becoming a household name. His acting chops, while coming along and becoming more multidimensional, are still developing, and he gets by more or less on his charisma and big smile. Joseph Kane provides decent, pedestrian direction--all of the exciting scenes are directed by Wayne's longtime associate, Yakima Canutt (the one who would later direct the outstanding chariot race in 'Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ'), and Vera Ralston is great as the loving wife who just seems to do the wrong thing at the worst possible time.

Ward Bond and Mike Mazurki are excellent as the bad guys, and Walter Brennan (as the most bipolar ship captain one will EVER find in cinema) and Nick Stewart (as his harped-on assistant) steal every scene they're in. Ona Munson even throws in an entertaining song-and-dance number, and provides an interesting love possibility for Wayne, if he wasn't such a one-woman guy.

This was released on Christmas Day in the States, and it's no lump of coal in one's stocking, but a small, likable gift for fans of the genre. Worth a watch if you like Westerns, and a purchase and rewatch for Wayne enthusiasts.
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One of the best of the one hour Republic oaters
craig_smith924 January 2000
This is possibly the best of the one hour movies that John Wayne made for Republic Pictures. From the opening sequence the film moves at a brisk pace. Although the theme is one of helping people protect their lands and their future, there are also lighter moments of comedy.
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Rising Star Wayne With Boss's Babe In Ambitious Republic Western
oldblackandwhite19 November 2010
Dakota is one of Republic Pictures' sturdy 1940's Westerns that still hold up well today. Republic was not a "poverty row" studio, as often erroneously stated, but it did know how to operate on the cheap while turning out a slick looking product. Most of the studio's output were programmers, but a few bigger budget "quality" pictures were produced every year. Dakota was one of these for year 1945. It has the scope and scale befitting the super star John Wayne wasn't yet but someday would be.

The action starts with a madcap chase in Chicago, chugs across the prairie on a train, then churns upriver to Fargo Dakota on a rickety paddle wheel steamboat captained by Walter Brennan at his most eccentrically colorful. There is a large cast of extras along with a fine cast of principal and supporting players, including along with Wayne and Brennan, Ward Bond, Mike Mazurki, Ona Munson, Hugo Haas, Grant Withers, Paul Fix, and last, but not least the Republic studio boss's main squeeze, the beautiful but allegedly untalented Vera Ralston. More about her later. Thanks to the taut direction of Joseph Kane and skilled, fluid editing, Dakota has a pleasingly fast pace with a jaunty, almost light-hearted air. There is not a wasted camera shot in this movie. It provides almost non-stop action from beginning to end, though it does so without an excess of violence. We get coach chases, buckboard chases, foot chases, horseback chases, a fight in a train car, a robbery on a riverboat, a riverboat wreck, burning wheat fields (looking suspiciously like file footage from The Westerner), a woman jumping off roofs, and a spectacular night-time finale shootout. As an added bonus, Munson leads a chorus of pretty dance hall girls in a charming period musical number. Dakota displays an authentic look and feel we wish we could find in more westerns from any period. The men wear suits and ties most of the time with their long-barreled six-shooters tucked into their waistbands under their coats. The women wear long, period dresses instead of butt-tight jeans. The men, even the bad guys are polite and helpful to women in keeping with Victorian sensibilities. The sets are well-turned out and convincing of the period. The story by Carl Foreman like the script by Lawrence Hazard is intelligent and engaging.

Dakota is one of John Wayne's "intermediate period" westerns -- that is intermediate between Stagecoach and Red River. Stagecoach raised Wayne out of the doldrums of the grade-Z western programmer circuit he had been stuck in through most of the 1930's. He was an "A" star now, but not yet really the big star he would later become. Still a star of the second rank like George Brent or Dennis O'Keefe. Through most of the 1940's, he was still being second-billed in "A" pictures behind such male stars as Robert Montgomery (They Were Expendable) and Ray Milland (Reap the Wild Wind) and top female stars such as Caludette Colbert (Without Reservations) and Joan Crawford (Reunion in France). It would take a magisterial performance in that Western of all Westerns Red River, released three years after Dakota, to raise Duke Wayne to the status of super star. But he was already showing the signs of what was to come in Dakota, completely relaxed and confident, with all the movements and looks of the mature John Wayne. He would feel confident enough of his stardom in the late 'forties to refuse to do any more movies with Vera Ralston for fear her bad acting would give him a bad name.

Critics then and now have gone on and on about how bad the pretty Ms Ralston's acting was, that she was only a star only because she was having a relationship with and eventually married the head of Republic Pictures Herbert J. Yates (39 years older than she!) But she didn't seem so bad in Dakota. She was lively and energetic to the point of athletic, as you would expect from a woman who came to public attention by her ice-skating ability. Not a Bette Davis by any means, but here adequate for a not undemanding part which shows her as not only devoted to her husband, but resourceful, clever and somewhat manipulative -- in a sweet, and gentle way. She did look slightly bewildered at times -- not surprising since the recent Czech émigré's English was so poor, she often had to phonetically memorize her lines without understanding the content. Not as bad as Bo Derrick, or many others. Whatever Vera lacked in dramatic panache, she made up for it by projecting a sweet, innocent -- not to mention sexy -- charm. Everyone has just jumped on an anti-Vera bandwagon because she was an easy target, being the boss's babe and all. John Wayne in spite of his later remarks, seems to have had good chemistry with her in Dakota. But after all, she was a real babe, and what man wouldn't throw a few sparks hugging up against that buxom but tight ice-skater's figure!

Dakota in a rarity amongst Westerns in having the male and female leads start the movie just married, and happily so against the opposition of her volatile father (Haas). No drifter and saloon floozy here. The love interests are a substantial married couple, so all the distracting courting business has already happened, and we can get on with the riding and the shooting. And there was enough of both and much else in this minor epic to satisfy nearly any aficionado of the horse opera.

Dakota is top-notch Western entertainment from Old Hollywood's Golden Era.
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Mild Wayne Western
FightingWesterner6 March 2010
John Wayne elopes with the daughter of a wealthy immigrant family. Taking off for Fargo, he squares off against nasty Ward Bond, who had his life-savings stolen and is in the process of taking land in anticipation of the coming railroad.

One of the minor Republic vehicles the Duke cranked out in the nineteen-forties, this starts out well, though it runs out of steam mid-way, ending up being okay but unspectacular and unmemorable.

Production values and performances are good, but this seems bloated, even at 83 minutes. Republic should have tightened it up and made it one of their hour-long programmers.

The best thing about this is crusty, old riverboat captain Walter Brennan. He and his sidekick almost steal the movie.
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"Speaking of politics, where we're going there are only two parties, the quick and the dead."
classicsoncall9 September 2006
Warning: Spoilers
It's interesting to follow John Wayne's career progress, from the early Lone Star Western days up through the leading roles he's most famous for in the Sixties and Seventies. Here, in "Dakota", and in other films of the era, he probably appeared at his best in terms of rugged good looks and athletic skill. He cuts an impressive figure, particularly with leading lady Vera Ralston by his side to smooth out the rougher edges.

The film itself isn't particularly noteworthy for it's story line, a theme that's been done time and again in the genre. Evil land grabbers attempt to swindle hard working honest folks out of their wheat farms just before the railroad comes through so they can cash in for the quick kill. Ward Bond portrays the main bad guy with subtle malice as he engineers the land swindle, while pro boxer/wrestler/strong man Mike Mazurki is his top henchman. Bond's character Jim Bender in particular is a much smoother characterization than one is used to seeing in these types of oaters; more than one wheat farmer commented on how honest he seemed to be with his calm demeanor and dialog.

The picture gets off to a wild start as John Devlin (Wayne) elopes with Sandy Poli (Ralston), as they manage to outrun her father who disapproves of the already completed marriage. In a well crafted scene, Marko Poli (Hugo Haas) turns the tenor of the early story on a dime as he comically attempts to send off a telegram to the daughter that got away. The scene sets the stage for additional comic relief, primarily supplied by Walter Brennan in a wonderful portrayal of the 'River Bird' Captain Bounce. Most of the time Bounce can be heard talking to himself in the colorful language he's known for, and it's a hoot to catch his antics, particularly in the grounded riverboat scene.

Nick Stewart is the captain's sidekick, his gimmick is a constant handkerchief wipe of face and brow that signals a nervous twitch. His black character is somewhat stereotypical in presentation, but not as racially charged as mentioned elsewhere in this forum. Probably the worst that can be said about it is that it resembles a 'Step 'n Fetchit' type of portrayal, though it comes in handy for Wayne's character later in the story to signal the bad guys on the move.

There's a neat device near the finale when Devlin goes after Collins (Mazurki). While pushing through the door of the cabin, Devlin pulls Collins' hat down over his face prior to bashing him. That's a move I hadn't seen before.

Probably the most unusual and in it's way most refreshing element of the story is the way Ralston's character keeps one step ahead of her new husband by pulling the strings on their future together. With his eye set on California, Devlin never makes it as the Mrs. manages to shanghai his plans every step along the way. It's also on that note that the movie ends, with the Captain's refurbished riverboat horn drowning out Devlin's protest against another one of her manufactured schemes.
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This film does not lack for action
kfo949420 May 2020
This is not an award winning movie by any means- but with the fast paced action, this was a western that was enjoyable to watch. Some western movies move slow as it builds up excitement as the plot may have two or three action packed segments. However, this tale moves from one situation to another never slowing down for a rest making the movie seem even shorter than the 80 minute length. John Wayne and Vera Ralston worked well together with Wayne beginning that swagger that he was so famous for in later films. This being a low budget film, there are some rough spots in production. The use of very obvious backdrops and sound-stage fake backgrounds made the film look cheap but the story still held up well. An entertaining film that kept the viewer's attention from beginning to end.
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A must for anyone who loves Westerns and John Wayne
iantrader23 July 2018
It's really interesting to look at some of these old movies from the 40s and 50s. They had a directness and economy of style and language that is lacking in so many movies and TV series these days.

Modern screen writers could learn a lot from watching them. Note, if you will, that few have the same writer and director - a fact that makes them far, far better than the vast majority of writer/director movies these days, certainly at least as far as story goes.

Dakota is typical John Wayne fare. John Wayne plays John Wayne and we love him for it. We know who the good and bad guys are and the script is not without its subtleties. We know who's going to win but not always who the casualties may be.

A (relatively) young Walter Brennan plays, er, Walter Brennan - yes, and that's why we love him! - and the whole thing is packaged in an economy. bite-sized package, ideal Saturday morning fare and, of course, a must for anyone who loves Westerns and John Wayne.

Side note - the plot does, in part, include 'fields of wheat;, a phrase that will resonate (possibly in an ironic way) with viewers in the UK in 2018!
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Movie too dark to see much of the time.
Karnak20130 August 2002
Why, oh why, must film makers make a movie so dark? Sometimes I think they must have gotten a great deal on filters, and felt that they had to use them all on this one film. Some of the shots in this one are so dark that one is hard pressed to tell the good guys from the bad guys.

Darkness is sometimes used to hide poor (read: cheap) special effects in a "B" movie, and I guess that's to be expected; But there was no reason for Dakota (1945) to be under exposed. I couldn't tell if it was a good movie or not because I couldn't see half of it.
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It really is, Likable!!!
treeguy71026 September 2020
O I would like to say, it was likable, anyone rating this film 5 or less stars, must need a fa que up the thwanga!!!
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Post War Classic
frank412225 March 2019
John Wayne marries the daughter of a millionaire, Vera Ralston and things get off to a bang from the get go. Papa is on the chase shooting in the opening scene and the action is just beginning. Ward Bond and tough guy Mike Mazurki as 'Bigtree' Collins also have it in for the leading man. Walter Brennan as Captain Bounce is a reluctant but highly spirited participant in the ensuing ruckus. Does love conquer all in this western romantic adventure. All I can say is the ending opens that up to interpretation and watching this action packed classic makes it well worth the wait.
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Duke swindles the swindlers
weezeralfalfa5 September 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Many reviewers complain about Vera Ralston's acting in this film and others. I thought this former ice skating queen did an OK job playing her role. She is supposed to be the elegant daughter of an immigrant father who struck it rich in railroads. This explains her foreign accent and the fact that she is unlike those sexy dance hall girls of Fargo. Wayne appears to have married her mainly for her wealthy connections, looks and good pedigree. She appears to have married him for his good looks and charismatic personality. She is determined to call the shots when it comes to deciding where they will live, both near the beginning and at the end of the film. When they run away from her disapproving father, Wayne tells her to buy tickets to CA, but she buys tickets to St. Paul, knowing that her father's railroad is planning to soon begin a line to Fargo. She hopes to buy land cheap from the farmers and sell it dear to her father's railroad. Unfortunately, Ward Bond and gang have the same idea. Bond assumed the railroad was soon coming to Fargo because he saw their surveyors. He also assumes that Wayne is a land buying agent for the railroad(until late in the film, when the real agent shows up). Bond hammers out a contract with most of the farmers that he gets their land if they can't repay the money he loans them to harvest and market their wheat. He plans to burn their wheat, a variation on a similar scene in "The Westerner", when cattlemen were trying to burn out the sod busters. Wayne threatens to pressure the railroad to via Grand Forks, instead of Fargo, unless Bond signs over his contract with the farmers to Wayne(and presumably the railroad) for a big discount compared to the amount Bond was planning to sell the contract to the railroad. Wayne plans to share his profit with the farmers, should the farmers be unable to repay their loans. Bond hopes to steal the contract back from a deceased Wayne, delete the part about Wayne being the new contract owner and then burn the wheat fields. See the film to find out how things turn out.

Walter Brennan plays a goofy old riverboat captain who mostly talks to his boat or himself or shouts at his assistant, Nichodemis. He practically steals the show. Nick Stewart, as Nichodemis, plays his stock character:a sleepy, incredibly slow thinking "darkie". He was Lightin' in the Amos & Andy TV series.
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Sporting one of the top Chicago Accents in Film History . . .
oscaralbert25 March 2016
Warning: Spoilers
. . . Vera Hruba Ralston brings DAKOTA to vivid life, acting circles around her co-stars Walter Brennan and John Wayne, in many critics' opinions. If Ms. Ralston had been the mistress of a Major Axis Figure, such as Hitler or Mussolini, American Movie Studio Heads might have felt that she was carrying too much personal baggage for her supporting players such as Brennan and Wayne to lug (this dichotomy is literally pictured on-screen here in DAKOTA'S first scene). But just as this opening incident of DAKOTA illustrates, Ms. Ralston is particularly adept at jettisoning excess carry-ons in favor of winging it Au Naturel. That's right, Vera's portrayal of "Chicago Sandy" is so convincing that she hardly needs to be tricked out in period costumes, make-up, and wigs. One can just as easily picture Chicago Sandy as a working gal, brazenly baring everything as she murmurs Sweet Nothings into a john's ear. With such a star turn by Ms. Ralston, viewers may not even notice as the Dakotas are burned down to cinders around her, including the City of Fargo and all of the wheat farmers' homes, along with their crops. Wayne's bumbling may have gotten most of Fargo's population killed, but at least no one is wood-chipped to death in DAKOTA, as America exclaims, "Hubba, Hubba, Hruba!"
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all the usual suspects for a wayne movie
sandcrab27717 September 2020
Most of the cast are hand picked regulars for a wayne western and it moves along pretty fast mostly because of the contrived occurrences like grant wither robbing wayne of his 20 grand while on the riverboat and like the over hearing their plans by ward bond, the bullying by mike marzurki and paul fix because they all work for ward bond ... wayne has to overcome all the chicanery and be smarter to beat the crooks at their own game ... vera ralston isn't much help but i didn't have any difficulty following her dialogue ... it was well worth the watch
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The Duke gets Hruba'd.
mark.waltz27 April 2020
Warning: Spoilers
With John Wayne working at republic studios throughout much of the 1940's, it was inevitable that he would end up working with the boss's wife, Vera Hruba Ralston (Yates). As the Norma shearer of Republic studios, Ralston had a very busy lineup of the studio's a pictures, often box office flops because the public just didn't seem to take to her. But when you pair someone with the Duke, it is bound to be a hit, irregardless. There are normally two camps to the impact of Ralston on screen, those who find her bland and strangely unphotographable and others who seem more sympathetic and find her a fascinating failure.

While none of her films are classics, "Dakota" is well remembered because of Wayne's presents in it, and as a gambler who marries wealthy Hugo Haas's daughter (Veta), he escapes from the controlling father-in-law by heading west. Wayne wants to go to California, but Paramount apparently had that title already planned for a Barbara Stanwyck movie, so they end up in Dakota territory instead. it's quite an adventurous journey just to get there, with riverboat Captain Walter Brennan basically blowing the boat up and Wayne robbed of his dowry before they even reached dry land. Then, Wayne must go up against land barons Mike Mazurki and Ward Bond who want to keep the railroad from coming through and thus control the territory. Even though mazurki is named sheriff, it is obvious that in spite of his claim that he intends to preserve law and order, corruption will be the name of his game.

There are lots of fists flying, guns shooting and petticoats wiggling, that occurring through the presence of Ona Munson as a feisty saloon entertainer. This would be considered on a film from Republic's releases in 1945, and it's an enjoyable example of why westerns were so popular during this time. Wayne and Ralston seem to work well together, but it is Brennan, Mazurki and briefly Munson who get the best moments on screen. Brennan is not a sidekick comic relief, but he does provide the laughs, and Mazurki is a terrific villain. The fact that the setting is Fargo will provide some amusement for viewers who remember the classic Coen brothers movie.
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A charming but uneven range battle adventure
shakercoola1 June 2019
An American Western. It's a story set in post-war 1875, about eloping newlyweds: a professional gambler, and his wife (daughter of a displeased railroad tycoon) who get involved in a bitter railroad dispute and land war in Dakota. This is a standard fare oater, slow-paced, with a cliché story, bordering on B movie in production values. John Wayne delivers as usual, and Vera Ralston is spirited and lovely but is easily upstaged by Ona Munson, a kind-hearted saloon entertainer. There is good support from Ward Bond and the usually brilliant Walter Brennan as the Captain. But, although some scenes are very funny, some are played tongue-in-cheek comedic which makes the story feel patchy and uneven. There is also an inordinate amount of rear projection footage makes for rather dull viewing.
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