June 15, 2008
1942 film has a comical title. It’s not a comedy. In fact, I’d say the body count is a bit higher in this film than in most of Charley’s westerns.
Dick Curtis is the excellent bad guy again. He sets up his boss, Cattleman Jim Carter, to be murdered, but there is a witness. It’s a gal, Dodie, played by lovely Alma Carroll. His gang tries to kill this gal but Arthur “Arkansas” Hunnicutt (in one of eight films with Charley) alerts Steve Randall who saves her.
The rest of the film concerns the search for the missing money that Jim Carter had on him. Besides being a surveyor for the Land and Water Company, Steve is a busy body. He knows Dodie hid the money and he keeps bugging her about it.
Arkansas plays a photographer in this. He’s a good addition to any film with Charley. Unlike Smiley, he’s not a clown. He’s a character. As in “That Arkansas sure is a character.” Personally, I like characters. I hate clowns.
Steve says a lot of cool stuff when he’s about to hop onto his horse. Like “I gotta drift” and “Look after Dodie, I gotta travel.”
A first in one of these films: Steve has a pair of binoculars. He uses them a lot.
Lloyd Bridges plays a small role as a henchman. In fact, he’s one of the killers of Jim Carter. He has this memorable line: “Who is the boss anyway? Did Clint ever tell you?”
As we know, there is always a band featured in these films. In this one, it’s Texas Jim Lewis and his Lone Star Cowboys. As we also know, often the band members play parts in the film. So far, we’ve seen them as ranch hands, as cow punches, as stagecoach drivers, as saloon workers, as Smiley’s friends and so on. In this film, they are a lynch mob and they want to kill Steve!
In the end, they’re sorry and sing “Western Son” to Steve. This is, hands down, my favorite song yet.