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  • I think there will forever be interesting wills drawn by people who might want to amuse themselves in the afterlife by seeing th heirs run around doing strange things to get the inheritance. The deceased in Land Of The Open Range had a Ponderosa like spread, but in his younger days was quite the hellraiser. So on his death he said that his spread would be divided into sections for homesteading and to be eligible you had to have a prison record.

    As you might imagine that is of concern to law enforcement which is in the persons of Tim Holt, Ray Whitley, and Lee White. But there's more here than meets the eye. Roy Barcroft who was the lawyer has one real interesting scheme in mind and more I will not say.

    Strange wills in films is a genre all its own. But I give points in originality for this film. And besides that it's got a good quota of action as Tim Holt films always do.
  • Deputy Dave Walton (Tim Holt) does most of the heavy lifting of law enforcement in this original little western. The film opens with the funeral of Luke Archer, apparently a career criminal who had the good fortune to die in bed. When Luke's will is read by his attorney Gil Carse - who is apparently a bad guy as well - it specifies that his large ranch is to be parceled up and auctioned off in "land rush" style to anybody who has served at least two years in a federal or state criminal institution. Archer did this not because he was some great humanitarian. Instead he did it as revenge on the folks of the town by filling the land around it with former criminals.

    Well word gets out and soon ex-cons are camped out and waiting for the date of the land rush. Some are well behaved, but some are stealing chickens for dinner, and still others are getting drunk and shooting up the town.

    Sure, this one devolves into the finishing chase on horseback and shootout, but it also does some interesting things along the way. For instance, the deputy meets his love interest when she starts clubbing him with her parasol before the two have spoken a word to one another. Carse's men are seen surveying a portion of Archer's land. prior to the date of the rush Why? Then there is an interesting pseudo reformed pick pocket that figures heavily into the plot in a humorous fashion. And finally there is a black cat and what appears to be an office that is haunted by the spirit of Luke Archer. What goes on here? Watch and find out. It sure is not dull or predictable. And for a film made in 1942 it is rare in that it has not a hint of those nasty Nazis!

    Note that the land rush scenes were largely lifted from RKO's only film to win a Best Picture Oscar - 1931's "Cimarron". It won mainly because it restored outdoor motion to film, but by 1942 such scenes were commonplace .
  • Saw this for the first time the evening of March 11, 2004 on TCM. Lee "Lasses" White is a bit hard to take, but Hobart Cavanaugh is great! It was also nice to see Roy Barcroft and Tom London again, doing their thing together, too. When you think of Tim Holt going on to play in "Treasure of Sierra Madre,", Tom London with a role in "Twelve Noon", and Barcroft as the Sheriff in the film version of "Oklahoma", and the radio performer Janet Waldo, all of whom are in this one... along with great music by Whitley, it is very entertaining...and quite witty, too. The only other movies like this, from this time and this genre, that are as entertaining are the Gene Autry films of the early 1940's. But I liked this cast better than those used in most Autry flicks.