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TEXAS(director: George Marshall; screenwriter: from a story by Michael Blankfort & Lewis Meltzer/Horace McCoy; cinematographer: George B. Meehan; editor: William Lyon; music: Morris W. Stoloff; cast: William Holden (Dan Thomas), Glenn Ford (Tod Ramsey), Claire Trevor (‘Mike’ King), George Bancroft (Windy Miller), Edgar Buchanan (Buford ‘Doc’ Thorpe), Don Beddoe (Sheriff), Joseph Crehan (Dusty King), Addison Richards (Matt Laskan), Lyle Latell (Dutch Henry); Runtime: 94; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Sam Bischoff; Columbia Pictures; 1941)
“A charming buddy action-packed film.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Superior b/w Western from Columbia. It’s a charming buddy action-packed film that involves a love triangle, many comic set pieces and lots of he-man stuff. George Marshall (“Destry Rides Again”) does a good job keeping it fast paced; it’s based on the story by Michael Blankfort & Lewis Meltzer, Horace McCoy turns in the script.

The film is set in 1866, just after the Civil War. Two Southern drifters working on the railroad in Abilene, Kansas, Dan Thomas (William Holden) and Tod Ramsey (Glenn Ford), are heading to Texas in hopes of changing their lot in life. To earn some dough the penniless friends get involved in a boxing match, in which a cattleman named Windy (George Bancroft) pays Dan to substitute and fight the champion Dutch Henry. Dan is getting pummeled but hangs in there and turns it into a bloody brawl by the 40th round. The longtime buddies hit the trail and witness a stagecoach holdup and steal the loot from the holdup men. Tod gets arrested on the trail by the posse but is freed to fight as Dan returns and yells Indians! They escape and go in different directions and don’t see each other again for a long time.

When they do meet up again Dan is working for rustlers on Matt Lasher’s (Addison Richards) ranch, a job he got through the recommendation of crooked dentist Buford ‘Doc’ Thorpe (Edgar Buchanan), and Tod is doing an honest day’s work as a rancher for Dusty King (Joseph Crehan). The ranch owner suggests the ranchers hire gunfighters to stop the rustling, but he is killed. Both men fall for the lovely Mike (Claire Trevor), Dusty’s daughter, and Tod gets jealous when seeing the aggressive Dan kissing her while he still hasn’t let Mike know how he feels.

Windy turns up from Abilene and promises he will buy the ranchers’ cattle and take them himself to town but offers only $2 a head, while Tod says they can get $18 a head in Abilene and convinces the ranchers to let him drive the 7,000 steers there. Dan talks the other rustlers into double-crossing Matt’s rustling scheme so he can sell the cattle and make sure Tod doesn’t get stung, and he figures out a way to make more dough for the boys than they would have by rustling. Windy loses $20,000 and tries to kill Dan, but instead gets shot as Tod helps Dan escape. During this hectic time Tod lets Dan know that he loves Mike, too.

Buford meets up with Dan and informs him that he owns Matt’s ranch and was partners with Windy in the rustling scheme, and he offers him a partnership but he must kill Tod. Dan refuses and returns to the ranch to ask Mike to marry him. Tod tries to talk him out of it, but he’s shot by Matt. Mike treats the wounded Tod, who tells her it wasn’t Dan who shot him. Dan then shoots Matt and flees, and there’s a cattle stampede. Dan goes to Buford, and the two outlaws kill each other as they settle their differences. This allows Mike and Tod to unite in the final scene.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”