Great Randolph Scott Classic
Enjoyed this 1951 story about the expanding of the Santa Fe Railroad through Kansas and how some Southern soldiers after the war headed North to find jobs and their leader was Randolph Scott, (Britt Canfield)
and his three brothers. There plan was to make enough money in the North and head back to Virginia, however, there was still great hatred towards the Northerners for burning their property and also claiming their homestead lands. As the Santa Fe railroad is trying to lay their track across the land there is a bunch of crooks looking for their pay checks on pay day and they set up a tent with gambling, booze and hot bar maids to grab every nickle and dime and cause great delays in the building of the railroad. Janis Carter, (Judith Chandler) is a pretty platinum blonde who captures the eye of Britt Canfield, but she hates him for killing her brother in the Civil War. Great film with steam engines burning up the tracks and even an Indian takes complete control of the engine. Enjoy a great 1951 Classis Western from the past.
The time period for this film is actually pretty common for a Randolph Scott western–and about the fourth or fifth one set just after the Civil War. Like most of the films, Randolph fought for the South and now that the war is over, he has a choice to either accept the outcome or be a whiny jerk about it. Well, he’s a smart guy and soon gets a job working for the Santa Fe railroad, but his three brothers who served with him aren’t so bright–they hate the North so much that they do what they can to wreck things–even though there is no reasonable reason for this. So, much of the film pits Scott against his own kin (and vice-versa) as he tries hard to get the railroad completed and they work to undo it as much as possible–working for a traveling saloon whose task, it seems, is to both make money off the workers AND get them distracted from their job.
In addition to his brothers, Scott deals with a wide variety of things that might impede the progress of the railroad–rival companies, local Indian tribes and the like. This makes Scott’s job in the film as a sort of trouble-shooter. How true all these problems were in the construction of the rails is beyond me and I assume that the writers took a few liberties…just a few! Overall, the film is pretty good. While it isn’t among Scott’s best films (they were made later in the decade and the early 60s), this is a good film from this time period.