20 Mule Team (1940)

Approved   |    |  Western


20 Mule Team (1940) Poster

In California's Death Valley, in 1892, Borax ore miners scratch a hard living until a map pinpointing the location of high-grade Borax ore surfaces, sending prospectors and crooks alike into a gold-rush-like frenzy.


6.7/10
190

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  • Wallace Beery in 20 Mule Team (1940)
  • Wallace Beery in 20 Mule Team (1940)
  • 20 Mule Team (1940)
  • 20 Mule Team (1940)
  • 20 Mule Team (1940)
  • 20 Mule Team (1940)

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5 January 2017 | bkoganbing
5
| Cornering the Borax Market
20 Mule Team is one of the few westerns to deal with the mining of alkali salt in the place which is best known for it continental USA, Death Valley, California. It's the lowest point on the North American continent with heat the equivalent of what our troops are dealing with now in the Middle East.

Wallace Beery plays a former outlaw who has been living in the area around Death Valley and eking out a living as a miner of this salt with sidekick Leo Carrillo. But one day along comes Douglas Fowley who's an outlaw from the old days now with a confidence scheme in mind to corner the market in Death Valley and he wants Beery in on it lest he rat him out to the law because Beery has a price on his head.

Bilking the suckers isn't all Fowley has in mind. He's also on the make for Anne Baxter who is the daughter of saloon owner Marjorie Rambeau who Beery has an on again off again thing going. Kind of like his relationships with Marie Dressler and Marjorie Main in other films.

The location shooting in Death Valley is the best thing the film has going for it, especially the climatic shootout with Beery and Fowley.

What truly spoils 20 Mule Team is an obviously tacked on ending which made it a happy one. I can't say more, but if you watch 20 Mule Team I'm sure you'll agree.

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