Santa Fe Reviews
April 17, 2008
That voice is heard at the beginning of Pichel's own [i]Santa Fe[/i], seeking to graft Ford-style allegory onto a formulaic tale of the post-Civil War animosities and railroad-building. Randolph Scott plays a former Confederate officer who, in a charmingly daft moment, lurches onto a rolling flatcar while fleeing vindictive Union veterans and finds himself recruited by the Santa Fe Railroad. His three brothers, refusing to "work for Yankees," desert him and turn into accidental outlaws. Scott is supposed to be torn between loyalty to his blood kin and loyalty to his employer (Warner Anderson) and his rival for the affections of the war widow (Janis Carter) whose Union-officer husband was killed in a battle with Scott's Rebs. But the script is piecemeal and individual scenes flatfooted. Sole exception: an out-of-the-blue fiddling contest in a mountain pass, which both exacerbates and helps resolve a desperate crisis for Scott.