24 June 2011 | bkoganbing
Elements Of The Virginian
Bill Elliott played Wild Bill Hickok in many westerns so much so that he was billed as Wild Bill Elliott in films like Across The Sierras. But anything that any of these films have to do with the real Hickok is purely coincidental. Across The Sierras is one of thousands of westerns that take a real historical character and write a fictional story around him.
In the case of Across The Sierras it's more like they took a western classic and adapted into this film. Any western fiction fan or film fan will spot elements of The Virginian in the plot of this B western.
Elliott as Hickok has a young friend in Richard Fiske whom he is pulling out of trouble and warns him he's flirting with death or prison should Fiske not mend his ways. After Fiske starts hanging out with an especially murderous outlaw in Dick Curtis, Elliott accidentally kills Fiske and goes through grievous remorse. At the urging of Luana Walters Elliott considers becoming a peaceable man for real and hanging up his guns. But when Curtis challenges Elliott there's only one answer for a cowboy hero.
Across The Sierras has a few more adult themes in this than the normal B western market that Elliott was appealing to at this time. It holds up pretty well today.