2 October 2010 | MartinHafer
a reworking of "Captains Courageous" set in the Old West.
Although the CONNECTIONS link on IMDb does not say it, this is clearly a remake of "Captains Courageous"--the famous Spencer Tracy/Freddie Bartholomew film of the late 1930s. Now, Dean Stockwell plays the bratty rich kid and Joel McCrea takes Tracy's role as a friend and nursemaid (of sorts) to this kid. But, instead of being set at sea, this film is in the Old West--on the prairie. Instead of a fishing boat, the boy is taken on a cattle drive. When the brat is lost on a cross-country railroad trip, he is picked up by a group of cowboys. One takes the boy under his wing and shows him responsibility and kindness--things the boy truly needed to learn for himself. Because the basic story was so nice, this new film couldn't help but work as well--which it did, thanks to some excellent performances by Stockwell, McCrea and Chill Wills. Well worth watching--and nearly as entertaining as the original. This film's one advantage over the earlier film is McCrea's simple performance. Although Spencer Tracy won the Oscar for his performance, to me it was a bit broad in style.
By the way, the ending of "Cattle Drive" is very, very, very different from "Captains Courageous"--very!