5 November 2013 | dougdoepke
Dawdles a Bit Until the End
Gene gets caught up in a feud between miners and ranchers, one of whom may have killed his father.
The programmer is not among Gene's best, though it is generously produced by Autry Productions. This was a time (1951) when TV was beginning to eat into theatre audiences. So it looks like Gene was looking to modify his long-successful movie mold.
Here, for example, he's not only a good guy with a gun and horse, but a doctor as well. Note too, that the humor with sidekick Buttram is played down more than usual. Also, Gene works in only one tune, Here Comes Peter Cottontail, a delightful rendition, but not exactly a good trail song. Then too, the final shootout is also unusual since Gene is not the main focus; plus the showdown takes place in an elaborate mine tunnel instead of in town or out in the open. The tunnel itself is an impressive set for a horse opera, and I'm not sure whether Gene borrowed it or built it. Either way it's an eye-catcher.
My only complaint is that the movie tends to dawdle until the final sequence. There's some hard riding, but the countryside alternates between the scrubby LA area and the scenic Alabama Hills in not very well blended fashion. Anyway, the movie should please Gene's many fans, myself included.