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  • Universal Pictures back in 1936 put some real money into a film shot at both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks simply entitled Yellowstone. They obviously wanted folks to see the real deal and they were not about to do Old Faithful on their back lot. Would that they only had a story to match the scenery.

    Judith Barrett has come to Yellowstone to reunite with a father she hadn't seen for years. She and Ralph Morgan have only a day together when he's found dead on the trail, frozen and with a bullet in him.

    After that the Park Rangers have a murder mystery on their hands.

    It seems that Morgan was part of a notorious gang years ago and he buried a lot of loot somewhere in the National Park. Turns out there were others in the park as well looking for same.

    It was a great idea both filming in Yellowstone, but a really good mystery writer could have done a better script. Too bad Universal didn't hire Philip Marlowe, Dashiell Hammett or even Agatha Christie to devise one.

    The leads, Barrett and Forest Ranger Henry Hunter were a colorless pair as well. Color would have been nice to invest in for the film as well. But anytime you can see such scene stealing characters like Alan Hale, Raymond Hatton, Andy Devine, Paul Harvey and even Chinese cook Willie Fung you should avail yourself the opportunity.
  • When the opening credits for "Yellowstone" began to roll, I knew that the film couldn't be very good. The woman warbling the tune was simply horrid--and a sign of things to come!

    The film is, naturally, set in Yellowstone National Park. A rather dim young lady, Ruth (Judith Barrett) has come to the park to meet her estranged father who was supposedly in Australia for the past 18 years. When I heard this, I immediately assumed he'd been in prison for the last 18 years. Why this never occurred to the woman is beyond me. As I said, she seemed dim!

    When Ruth arrives at the park, a creepy ranger, Dick (Henry Hunter) notices her and almost immediately begins sexually harassing her--or at least that's how his behaviors would be interpreted today. However, Ruth being dim, she likes Dick's advances and they soon become a couple- -even though he's SUPPOSED to be a ranger and not hitting on guests.

    Along with Ruth, a variety of shifty characters arrive in town--further convincing the viewer that Ruth's father MUST be an ex-con. Well, it turns out that he is and was in prison for a string of robberies. And, not surprisingly, he's hidden the loot and a lot of people want the loot. Even less surprising is when the father (Ralph Morgan) ends up dead. Who did it? Who cares?!

    This film is full of bad writing, bad dialog and cheapness. While it is a B-movie and such movies often are cheaply made, this one was worse than usual in many ways. The worst was that NOTHING occurred without it being telegraphed ahead of time. For example, the crusty old story teller (Raymond Hatton) just happened to be regaling guests with stories about an old gang of thieves--the same ones who would soon start fighting over the hidden money. And, often characters would overact or swoon (Ruth actually did this TWICE). All in all, despite the film having some decent supporting characters (such as Alan Hale and Paul Fix), bad writing overwhelmed everything else. Illogical assumptions, folks standing about 5 feet from a HUGE geyser when it erupts and the like show that in addition to bad writing, the direction was also less than stellar. All in all, not a lot to recommend this other than some nice location shots.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Set in the park the story is about a young woman going to the park to meet up with her father who has just been released from prison. While she is being romanced by a park ranger the father is being haunted by the son of his former partner who wants his father's half of the money. When the girl father turns up dead (in spectacular fashion) the hunt is on for the killer. An odd mix of rear screen projection and location shooting this is an often beautiful looking film with nice scenic vistas. Unfortunately the film's plot seems to wander about randomly with a good number of threads brought up before the murder and too many suspects (and too much talk) after. The denouncement of what happened is neat, but the "who done it" part made me go "Huh?" Worth a look mostly because its setting is so radically different than almost any other mystery out there. You'll probably go "huh?" as well but at least you'll enjoy the ride.
  • wes-connors24 May 2008
    Yellowstone National Park ranger Henry Hunter (as Dick Sherwood)'s head is turned by pretty Chicago tourist Judith Barrett (as Ruth Foster). After the two get romantic, her ex-con father is murdered. Then, suspicious-looking visitor Alan Hale (as Hardigan) reveals he's a private detective; so, he investigates the death of Ms. Barrett's dad, Ralph Morgan (as James Foster). When Mr. Hunter becomes the prime suspect, his romance with the deceased's daughter understandably sours. Hunter insist he didn't kill Barrett's father, and begins his own investigation. Andy Devine (as "Pay-Day") and his mule Gertrude provide comic relief. Monroe Owsley leads an enjoyable supporting cast.
  • boblipton7 March 2018
    Henry Hunter is a park ranger at Yellowstone, and quite taken with pretty Judith Barrett when she shows up to meet with her father, Ralph Morgan, who has been in Australia for eighteen years -- or so she thinks. By the time things start to come clear, Morgan has been murdered, Hunter has been falsely accused and there are several fine suspects in this nicely scripted B mystery directed by Arthur Lubin.

    There is nice location shooting, a good supporting cast, including Andy Devine, Alan Hale, Rollo Lloyd (looking like his more famous brother gone to seed), and Paul Harvey. The writers include Stuart Palmer, which accounts for the nice, classically tangled assortment of suspects. I must admit I chose one at the three-quarters mark based on editing choices meant to make the movie shorter -- in the end, though, I was surprised!

    It's not a classic of the genre, but it does what a B mystery should: gives a good puzzler with good actors and some some nice scenery.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Lukewarm crime/drama, that ambles along for 20 minutes (of the 103) before finally revealing that several of the characters we have ever so slowly been introduced to are involved in a plot to recover money from a robbery, money that has been buried these last 18 years. Then, just as we begin to warm to this plot and expect to ride along with it, the film reverts to its tepid romance between the innocent girl and the semi-handsome ranger, the standard boy-meets-girl, boy-loses-girl, boy-gets-girl plot that, due to the utter lack of charisma between its actors, has taken so terribly long to get off the ground. Meanwhile, the slightly more interesting plot of stolen money being recovered is left to weave its way sinuously through the background, while the almost non-existent boy-meets-girl plot takes the foreground. Andy Devine rides along through all this, when he can get his (naturally, stubborn) mule to work (which is hardly ever). His task here is to merely fill space and to provide us with those obligatory moments of idiocy we are supposed to roll on the floor with laughter at. Called comic relief, by some, it may have been fresh back then (though I somehow doubt it), these days it wears painfully on the nerves. Finally, having wasted nearly forty very uninteresting minutes in this way, the main plot suddenly resurfaces and we find the main action (the plot to recover the money) truncated into a few minutes. During this time, we are informed of the main action and of all the other loose ends of the plot by a private detective (Alan Hale), without actually having to bother witnessing it. The ending arrives, and there is (once again) the obligatory crime/drama double-cross, along with the happy boy-gets-girl ending, swiftly followed by one last moment of idiocy by Mr. Devine, just so the audience can leave the theater chuckling instead of actually thinking of the swiss-cheesiest story-line. Would I watch a second time? Could I have a tablespoon of Castor oil instead, please.