27 July 2016 | AlsExGal
One of the very early sound westerns and one that makes little sense
The title makes it sound like a horror movie, but this is in fact a western. George O'Brien stars as Buck Duane in this western tale in which he returns home to find that his father has been shot in the back by Jim Mason. Apparently, in the local saloon Mason stands around bragging and laughing about it while the law does nothing? When Buck confronts him and shoots him "fair" (as in a fair duel) and kills him, the sheriff and his posse seem like they will ride with the energy of the trackers in "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" to get Buck. Excuse me, Buck killing a guy in a fair fight means a lifetime of running from the law but Mason shooting Buck's dad in the back is no problem? The logic and legal details of this escape me.
At any rate, Buck meets up with a fellow outlaw that tells him of a hideout where he can lay low. It is basically an encampment of outlaws run by the worst of the outlaws, the ironically named Bland. Bland is holding a girl, Ruth, there against her will, apparently so he can have his way with her. But Mrs. Bland (Myrna Loy) and the girl's own disgust with Bland are getting in the way of that goal. Buck pretends to like Mrs. Bland and tricks her to escape the encampment with Ruth. Ruth tries to talk Buck into going back and facing the law. Why? Apparently the law in the town is goofy given what I talked about in the first paragraph. The fact that Buck is considered a desperate dangerous outlaw and all of the men passing over a dish like Myrna Loy are the two great mysteries of this film. What will Buck do? Watch and find out.
This was a well photographed film, with a great shot of the outlaw encampment on top of a hill so that the outlaws could see who was coming. The sound was not so great, but 1930 was about the first year Westerns could be made again after the transition to sound. George O'Brien's talents are somewhat subdued by mediocre direction and abbreviated dialogue, but he soon becomes one of the best western stars of the 1930s.
I'd say it's worth a look for the weirdness of it all if it ever comes your way.