Black Bart Cheerful outlaw Charlie Boles leaves former partners Lance and Jersey and heads for California, where the Gold Rush is beginning. Soon, a lone gunman in black is robbing Wells Fargo gold shipments. One fateful day, the stage he robs carries old friends Lance and Jersey…and notorious dancer Lola Montez, coming to perform in Sacramento. Black Bart and Lance become rivals for both Lola’s favors and Wells Fargo’s gold.
Enjoyable western with a sense of humour
Black Bart Three thieves in the old west decide to split up their money and go their separate ways. However Lance and Jersey try to double-cross Charlie and leave him. Some time later Lance and Jersey come across Charlie, who appears to be doing well as a rancher. However the mysterious Black Bart is robbing Wells Fargo stagecoaches with help from inside information. Things are complicated by the arrival of the beautiful singer Lola Montes who attracts interest from Lance, Charlie and Black Bart himself.
This is a standard western that never threatens to replace John Ford’s westerns at the top of the list of greatest of all time. However it does have plenty of things that make it entertaining to watch. The story is a mix of mystery with some nice twists before the tragic but witty finale. The film never really sags and manages to mix action with romance with humour with western. It’s not the best film ever made but it is a gentle bit of entertainment.
Dan Duryea is not great as Charlie – he feels too wooden, and as Black Bart he is totally covered by a mask and can’t manage to bring his character to life. Jeffrey Lynn is good as Lance and benefits from having a double act with Percy Kilbride’s Jersey. Yvonne DeCarlo is stunning as Lola but she doesn’t have much to do and is just part of the studio’s habit of adding feisty female roles to westerns of the time.
Overall this is nowhere near a classic but it is well shot and is quite fun.