In the years following the Civil War, the town of Abilene, Kansas is poised on the brink of an explosive confrontation. A line has been drawn down the center of the town where the homesteaders and the cattlemen have come to a very uneasy truce. The delicate peace is inadvertantly shattered when a group of new homesteaders lay down their stakes on the cattlemen's side of town, upsetting the delicate balance that had existed thus far and sparking an all-out war between the farmers, who want the land tamed and property lines drawn, and the cowboys, who want the prairies to be open for their cattle to roam.Written by
Jean-Marc Rocher <email@example.com>
Abilene, Kansas, began as a stagecoach stop in 1857. In 1867 the Kansas Pacific Railway developed cattle pens there, and between 1867-71 the Chisolm Trail ended there. See more »
Although 400 homesteaders build houses and fences out of wood, it is never explained where the wood comes from. The land looks arid, and the only trees seem to be in town, where there is no millwork. See more »
Five years after the end of the Civil War, a thousand-mile cattle trail stretched from the plains of Texas to the railroad depots in Kansas. For ninety grueling days, through dust, heat, flies, loneliness, cowboys pushed Texas cattle northward on the Abilene Trail at an average speed of three quarters of a mile an hour toward Abilene, Kansas where raw-bred Southern beef could be turned into hard, Eastern cash. Abilene was the end of the trail, the end of the ...
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Excellent, under-appreciated movie, which I suspect fell into public domain because only cheap copies from original prints seem to be available. Randolph Scott is rock solid in the unassuming characterization of a modest but moral man acting as a moderating influence between three distinct groups, the cattlemen, the homesteaders and the tradesmen in a frontier town. Each have their own agendas, and the most alluring enticement for Scott on the bad side of town is the brassy but captivating dance hall singer, Ann Dvorak, in one of the best performances of her career, who is so fresh and sexy in her several numbers that I can well believe a whole roomful of cowboys would just sit there, stone silent with their mouths open, staring at her as she dances and flirts through her songs. I don't know if her voice was her own or dubbed, but she could sure deliver those lyrics!
There's not a dull or extraneous scene in the movie, with many well cast characters, fistfights, gunfights, a cattle stampede, romance, comedy and first-rate film noir lighting and dialogue for those who care. And besides all that, I didn't notice until about the third time I'd watched it, Scott's horse follows him around when he's on foot like a pet dog. Very subtle, never made a focus of attention by the director, one of the old-timers who had the sense to let audiences find their own points of interest. I think it's a classic.
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