Northwest Trail

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Produced by Gower Gulch maverick Robert L. Lippert and filmed in not-so-glorious two-strip Cinecolor near Idyllwild, California, this Northwest Mounted melodrama starred the veteran Bob Steele as a rather surly mountie who, against his own better judgment, is persuaded to escort a patronizing Eastern girl (Joan Woodbury through the wilderness to her uncle's logging camp. Constantly bickering with her guide, the girl is carrying $20,000 in her purse, payroll money which is promptly stolen. At the logging camp, Steele runs into trouble with the local sergeant, Means (John Litel), who may not be all he appears to be, a wife-beating saloon-keeper (George Meeker, and sundry other more or less mysterious persons, most of whom were aware of Miss Woodbury's travel plans. Steele, who was nearing the end of his starring career (four Grade-Z Westerns were to come), also headlined Wildfire (1945), another Cinecolor "experiment" for Lippert's Action Pictures. Northwest Trail, however, was all but stolen by Miss Woodbury, whose feisty character made up for Steele's aging inertia. Troubled silent star Madge Bellamy made her final screen appearances as the mistreated wife of the saloon proprietor and real-life circus performer Poodles Hanneford played himself Like so many low-budget mountie melodramas, this one implied a non-existent connection to pulp writer James Oliver Curwood.

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