CARIBOO TRAIL (director: Edwin L. Marin; screenwriters: Frank Gruber/story by John Rhodes Sturdy; cinematographer: Fred Jackman, Jr.; editor: Philip Martin; music: Paul Sawtell; cast: Randolph Scott (Jim Redfern), George ‘Gabby’ Hayes (Oscar ‘Grizzly’ Winters), Bill Williams (Mike Evans, Redfern’s Partner), Karin Booth (Frances Harrison), Victor Jory (Frank Walsh), Lee Tung Foo (Ling), Douglas Kennedy (Bill Murphy, Walsh henchman), Jim Davis (Bill Miller, Walsh henchman), Dale Robertson (Will Gray, Winters’ Foreman), Mary Stuart (Jane Winters), James Griffith (Higgins, Walsh Henchman), Mary Kent (Mrs. Marthie Winters), Charles Anthony Hughes (Dr. Rhodes), Fred Libby (Chief hite Buffalo); Runtime: 80; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Nat Holt; 20th Century Fox; 1950)
“The film is held together by the resolute performance by Randolph Scott.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Routine tale about a Montana rancher taking a herd of cattle up to British Columbia (filmed in Colorado) and hoping to fund a big ranch by striking gold. It’s adequately directed by Edwin L. Marin from a story by John Rhodes Sturdy, with Frank Gruber turning in the adequate screenplay. Cinematographer Fred Jackman, Jr. shoots it in Cinecolor giving it an exciting look. The film is held together by the resolute performance by Randolph Scott.
Two close friends and ranching partners from Montana, Jim Redfern (Randolph Scott) and Mike Evans (Bill Williams), and their loyal cook Ling (Lee Tung Foo), bring 36 head of cattle along while they take the Cariboo Trail to gold rich British Columbia. Refusing to pay an excessive fee to cross a toll bridge over shallow water they cross it without paying and break the bridge. While camping at night the phony toll operators stampede their herd and Mike has an arm amputated and he’s taken to Carson Creek to recover. Mike, who didn’t want the cattle along and was only interested in prospecting, becomes an embittered man and rails out in hatred against Jim for insisting on bringing along the cattle. Meanwhile Jim discovers that the villain behind the stampede is crooked businessman Frank Walsh (Victor Jory), who owns almost the whole town except for the Golden Palace saloon owned by Frances Harrison (Karin Booth). Jim, who has no money, meets up with old-timer Grizzly (George ‘Gabby’ Hayes) and they go off prospecting after Ling gives them money for a grubstake. Mike refuses Jim’s offer of a partnership and signs on to work for the ruthless Walsh. The prospectors have to stave off an Indian attack but Jim strikes a small amount of gold and uses that money to go ranching partners with Mrs. Marthie Winters, a relative of Grizzly’s. Mike becomes disillusioned with Walsh when he learns of a deal he made with the Black Foot to massacre Jim and the ranchers. In the nick of time, Mike convinces the townies to ride with him to stop Walsh. From here on, it’s strictly cattle ranching for Jim.
REVIEWED ON 8/29/2005 GRADE: B –
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ