Searching for a doctor who can help him get his son to speak again--the boy hadn't uttered a word since he saw his mother die in the fire that burned down the family home--a Confederate veteran finds himself facing a 30-day jail sentence when he's unfairly accused of starting a brawl in a small town. A local woman pays his fine, providing that he works it off on her ranch. He soon finds himself involved in the woman's struggle to keep her ranch from a local landowner who wants it--and whose sons were responsible for the man being framed for the fight.Written by
Production was halted temporarily when director Michael Curtiz had an emergency appendectomy. See more »
The opening scene - supposedly Illinois - shows a tall mountain range. There are no mountains in Illinois. See more »
I'd like a little respect. I told you before I don't like people I'm talkin' to to walk away from me. Look at me! You look at me when I talk to you.
I'm lookin', but I don't see anything.
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I have long complained because there must have been a million western movies made over the years by Hollywood and practically all of them are variations on the exact Fsame half dozen (or less) themes. As a result, most westerns are repetitive and dull. Fortunately, this one is a bit different--with enough that is not familiar to make it worth viewing.
The film begins with a father and son (Alan Ladd and his real life son, David) traveling across the country. They are Southerners but have left Atlanta following the Civil War in order to locate a doctor who might be able to cure the boy. It seems that following witnessing his mother's death the child has been mute.
In one of the towns, the father meets up with a couple dirt-bags who pick a fight with him. However, it is Ladd himself who is convicted of assault and is sentenced to spend 30 days in jail or pay $30--which he just doesn't have. A local spinster (Olivia de Havilland) takes pity on them and offers to pay the fine if the father comes to her farm to work off the debt.
Once on this farm, it's obvious Olivia's having problems with the same dirt-bags that attacked Ladd earlier in the film. In this case, the men are trying to force her to sell them her struggling farm. Along the way, Alan comes to her aid in this struggle and it's also obvious that some real affection is forming--and it's hardly a surprise when the two decide to stay.
While the story is not monumental in scope, it's a nice story about people. It helped that an exceptional director (Michael Curtiz) and many excellent actors appeared in the film. In addition to the main characters, veteran character actors such as Cecil Kellaway, Dean Jagger, Henry Hull and Harry Dean Stanton appeared in the film as well--giving it nice color. Plus the writing was very good and made for an appealing film.
By the way, the sign language that David Ladd uses throughout the film isn't perfect, but it IS essentially correct. So, when he is trying to tell Alan that there is a fire, that IS what he is signing. It's actually funny, but several times during the movie the dad didn't seem to know what the kid was saying--and I clearly understood and felt like yelling out what he was signing! I especially liked when the boy was trying to tell de Havilland how much he liked her but no one seemed to understand that he was saying how much he liked her. The film makers COULD have just as easily had the kid just make some nonsense signs and hardly anyone every would have known. It's nice to see that they tried. Now here is the rub, however, the DVD is NOT captioned at all!!! So, deaf people who COULD understand the boy cannot watch the film and enjoy it.
Also, while not a huge mistake, in one scene late in the film the three leads are in town and it's pouring down rain--so much so that they need to stay there until it clears. Yet, when they arrive back at the farm, it's 100% dry--the same dessert-like place it's always been with dirt, dirt and more dirt.
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