7 December 2007 | drednm
Richard Arlen in a Zane Grey Story
This unassuming little Western from 1930 has a little of everything. The narrative structure is very interesting.
Story opens with a saloon full of men, including Richard Arlen. He's been on a drunk since his pal was shot and killed. He just can't get over it. But on that day's train comes the dead man's sister (Mary Brian), who's come to claim his ranch. Arlen (very drunk) runs into her on a sidewalk and tries to pick her up. She's alone in a strange town and terrified, but she gets away.
The next day Arlen shows up at the ranch with three pals, looking for work. She throws them out when she recognizes the drunk from the night before. A little later, another man (Fred Kohler) shows up to inform her the ranch is his because he paid the back taxes. He suggests they might make a deal and starts advancing on her when Arlen returns, fights with Kohler and chases him off.
From that point, it's up to Arlen to defeat Kohler and the crooked sheriff and ride off into the sunset with the girl.
This is a very straightforward story and the look of the film reminds of the old silent Westerns of William S. Hart. Nothing is gussied up: Brian wears plain dresses and the town looks like a wind-blown Old West town.
Arlen was never a great actor, but he's good in simple roles like this. Brian seems still to be struggling with dialog. The ethnic comic Harry Green shows up as a Jewish peddler. George Chandler, Syd Saylor, and Regis Toomey co-star.
Only an hour long, but a neat little film.