13 February 2003 | horn-5
Monument Valley, California desert and Indian tribes are transported to Wyoming.
This 1949 "Durango Kid" western from Columbia starts off a bit out of kilter to begin with as Jay Silverheels (and the other Indian tribesmen) are riding around Wyoming sporting headgear associated with the Seminoles of the Southeastern United States or the Navajos of the Southwest, but not seen much on tribes of the Wyoming area---basically a bandana with a feather stuck in it. The reason for this somewhat-jarring headgear becomes apparent toward the end of the film, but there is one more out-of-character costume change to come first. While many of the westerns stars of the thirties and forties could aften be found wearing the flap shirt with a row of buttons down each side of the front, Charles Starrett, with the exception of 1937's "Cowboy Star", where he briefly appeared in a shirt like that, never wore such a shirt in any of his other films. Until "Laramie",That is. Just before he starts off to overtake the stage he, from out of nowhere, is suddenly wearing such a shirt. Then the reasons for the Indian's headdress and his sudden shirt change become clear when the last few minutes of this 1949 western is 100% stock footage from 1939's "Stagecoach." The tribesmen (or white men posing as Indians) had to match the Navajo's from that film, and Starrett's shirt had to match the one worn by John Wayne in that film, especially when he is climbing from out of the coach to the top of the coach. Stuntmen Yakima Canutt and Cliff Lyons from "Stagecoach" are also both clearly visible. A bit of irony is also involved. Several John Wayne biographers---one or two who knew what they were writing about and several who didn't---have mentioned that when Wayne was released/fired from his Columbia Players contract circa 1932, Wayne, who had no clout or prospects in sight at the time,vowed that he would never again make a film for Columbia until studio head Harry Cohn was dead and gone. And he didn't. Or,at least, he didn't on his own, but the use of stock footage put him in another Columbia film long before Harry Cohn died.