16 April 2013 | dougdoepke
Mild, at Best
A sheriff battles his gold hungry town and a cavalry captain who covet gold-rich Indian land.
The movie's pretty unremarkable except for the cowardly cavalry captain (Bridges). Cavalry officers were generally not portrayed in such a negative light. But here Bridges tries hard, if not very persuasively, to be as craven as possible. The film came along at a time when Hollywood was beginning to recognize the Indians' side of the struggle over land. Thus their side gets a fairer treatment than had been usual.
Calhoun plays an Indian sympathizer who tries to control the more bloodthirsty whites in the town. And, of course, he has an eye for the comely Indian maiden (Gilbert), who happens to look a lot whiter than he does. But then Hollywood never cast real Indian women as major romantic interests, even though they might use real Native Americans in all the other parts.
I'm not sure why cult actress Grahame is in the film since her part appears inessential. I guess it was for marquee value, though her best years are clearly past. On the whole, it's a rather dull western, without the expected big shootouts, but with a lot of talk instead. Its heart is in the right place, but not much else, I'm sorry to say.