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Remade in 1956 as Canyon River starring George Montgomery, this film has Wyoming rancher Jim Kirk (Bill Elliott) deciding to cross-breed his Texas longhorns with Herefords to develop what he hopes will be a heavier breed for meat stock. En route to Oregon to buy the Herefords, he takes his supposed-friend Andy (Myron Healey) with him, not knowing that Andy is part of a gang out to rob him. They are attacked by Indians, Jim saves the wounded-Andy's life, and leaves him at the home of Gail Robinson (Phyllis Coates) and her dad (I. Stanford Jolley) for medical attention. Jim buys the stock and and is on the homeward trek to Wyoming, accompanied by the still-plotting Andy, Gail and her father, and a crew of outlaws as his trail herders.Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
This zesty little programmer fom Monogram starring the stolid, value-driven "Wild Bill" Elliott has a feeling of real detail, likely because of a low budget, and so incidents of setting up and taking down a Cattle Drive campsite have a feeling of actuality, the cook's utensils assembled quickly, the men wrapping themselves in horse blankets every night, all led by the indomitable, tight-lipped "Wild Bill." willing to give those less fortunate a leg up if they honestly try (he hires a batch of local outlaws, ignored by the rest of the community) but ruthless when it comes to willful disorder on the trail, i.e. drinking.
One of the strengths of this short, action-packed cattle drive from Oregon to Wyoming, is the lack of a stupid sidekick for the hero--the sort one has to endure with many B" Westerns--in Tim Holt adventures, for example, there is Ray Whiteley, a fixture who might have been funny at the time, but today seems a little silly and interminable. Instead of the comic, this trim little adventure features an Indian attack, a stampede, a little romance, and some skullduggery by one of the hired hands. A plus is a little lesson about the viability of the Longhorn as a value herd, a dilemma solved by breeding them with Hereford.
Sure as shootin', the huge herd is never seen with one of the filmed cowhands anywhere near, all the footage stolen from some larger epic, but who cares? For 70 minutes we get acquainted with stolid "Wild Bill," perhaps a wee bit old at 47 to be a romancing cowpoke as well as a man fast with his fists, but in the tradition of William S. Hart, he carries on a great tradition.
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