SADDLE TRAMP (director: Hugo Fregonese; screenwriter: Harold Shumate; cinematographer: Charles P. Boyle; editor: Frank Gross; music: Joseph E. Gershenson; cast: Joel McCrea (Chuck Connors), Wanda Hendrix (Della), John Russell (Rocky), John McIntire (Jess Higgins), Jeanette Nolan (Ma Higgins), (Pop), Ed Begley (Mr. Hartnagle), John Ridgely (Slim Stevens), Peter Leeds (Springer), Paul Picerni (Denver), Antonio Moreno(Martinez), Orley Lindgren(Tommie Stevens), Jimmy Hunt (Robbie Stevens), Gordon Gebert (Johnnie Stevens), Gregory Moffett(Butch Stevens), Walter Coy (Phillips); Runtime: 77; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Leonard Goldstein; Universal-International; 1950)
“A likable Joel McCrea makes this folksy sentimental story so appealing.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A likable Joel McCrea makes this folksy sentimental story so appealing. Hugo Fregonese (“Apache Drums”/”Blowing Wild”/”The Raid”)efficiently directs from aHarold Shumate screenplay.
Proud of his freedom to do what he wants, saddle tramp Chuck Connors (Joel McCrea) is passing through Nevada to head for California. But first he visits his old pal Slim Stevens (John Ridgely).Chuck finds that Slim’s wife died a year ago and left him to care for their four young children. Spending the night at Slim’s impoverished ranch, Chuck finds himself suddenly saddled with the four youngsters when Slim’s thrown from Chuck’s rodeo horse that bucked when Slim fired a shot at a coyote. Chuck feels guilt-ridden over the accidental death, especially since not giving a shout out that the rodeo horse is trained to buck at a gunshot, and decides to stay on and help the kids survive by getting a job. He finds work at the ranch ofJess Higgins (John McIntire), but can’t tell about the kids because Jess hates kids and won’t hire family men. The kids stay out of sight at a camp far from the ranch and Chuck sneaks food out from the kitchen at night to feed the kids. The kids are joined by a runaway orphan girl Della (Wanda Hendrix), whose nasty uncle (Ed Begley) abuses her and her aunt doesn’t believe her. Chuck at the job runs into a ranch feud between Higgins and his neighbor rancher Martinez, who he accuses of cattle rustling.Since both ranchers seem like good guys, it doesn’t take Chuck long to figure out that both ranches have a crooked foreman (John Russell & Peter Leeds) and are rustling the cattle and avoiding suspicion by inflaming the blood feud between the ranchers.
What was difficult to believe, was Della is 19 and not a child as first believed and that when she washes her face Chuck falls in love and they marry to live happily ever after as one ready-made family.
REVIEWED ON 8/13/2011 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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