28 April 2011 | MartinHafer
Perpetuating an ugly myth...
This is an ugly film and I am very surprised the other reviews let this pass without comment. The film begins during the Civil War. In some god-awful scenes, you see a plantation where the happiest slaves in film history live. They LIKE being in bondage and when the war ends, they are beside themselves and want the Master to stay. But, in a ridiculously teary and melancholy scene, the Master leaves, as Yankee raiders have destroyed his home. While such was often the fate of plantation owners during the war, the well-fed, non-beaten, non-sexually exploited and happy slaves were just too much--and I could imagine viewers today tossing a show at the TV when this sort of idyllic view of slavery is portrayed!! It's historically inaccurate and rather gross. Why not a film about happy folks in concentration camps, then?
The war is now over and Bob Steele has been sent west to ensure that the telegraph lines are put in to connection the nation. In addition, some dirt-bags (the same Yankee raiders but now living in the west) are trying to start their own nation and it's up to Bob to kick butt and restore peace. But how does Steele's story relate to the good folks at the plantation? After all, he's a dang Yankee (though a nice one) and they were good children of the Confederacy?
Overall, the acting is good and the story is pretty good--but the prologue is just grotesque. Watch it if you like but if you aren't offended by the start of the film you might want to read up on this period in history, as it was nothing like this...at least on this planet!