The Painted Desert (1931)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Painted Desert Photos

Movie Info

In this western, an orphan who is discovered alone in the desert is raised by a kindly family. The only dark spot in their lives comes from a long-standing feud with another family, something that eventually comes to an end when the orphan grows up and falls in love with the enemy family's daughter.
Classics , Western , Romance
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Pathé Films


William "Hopalong" Boyd
as Bill Holbrook
William Boyd
as Bill Holbrook
Helen Twelvetrees
as Mary Ellen Cameron
William Farnum
as Cash Holbrook
Clark Gable
as Brett
Edmund Breese
as Judge Mathews
Charles Sellon
as Tonopah
J. Farrell MacDonald
as Jeff Cameron
Wade Boteler
as Bob Carson
Dick Cramer
as Provney
Jim Mason
as Shotgun Rider for Bill's Wagon (uncredited)
Hugh Allen Adams
as 'Dynamite'
Brady Kline
as Miner (uncredited)
Cy Clegg
as Miner (uncredited)
James Donlan
as Steve - Ore Wagon #2 Shotgun Rider (uncredited)
George Burton
as Santa Fe (uncredited)
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Critic Reviews for The Painted Desert

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Audience Reviews for The Painted Desert


The Painted Desert (1931) Two wondering cowpokes, Cash Holbrook (William Farnum) and Jeff Cameron (J. Farrell MacDonald) ride up on an abandoned wagon, the victim of an indian attack. Nobody is alive except for a baby. The two quickly come to the little fellow's rescue, but it doesn't take long before they're arguing over what to name him and where they should settle down. Guns are even drawn and Cash leaves in a huff with the baby. These two become bitter rivals years later when young Bill Holbrook (William Boyd) and Jeff's daughter, Mary Ellen Cameron (Helen Twelvetrees) become adults. Cash sneaks his cattle onto Jeff's land to drink from his water and a gun battle almost ensues. This is where a wondering stranger rides onto the property, Rance Brett (Clark Gable) who offers to be an extra gun for Jeff and Mary Ellen. Meanwhile, Bill see's the ridiculousness of this feud. Bill has been trying to talk Cash into making peace with Jeff. He's spotted some ore deposits on Jeff's land and feels that together they could make a huge profit working together, while fighting each other, everyone looses. This is an old western with old stage and silent era acting styles that come off more funny to watch with today's eyes. This is one of Clark Gable's first talkies, and you know he's the heavy in this movie and frankly is the most three dimensional character in the whole film. You know Gable has a big future ahead of him and he is the reason for watching this. William Boyd, who later is known for TV's Hopalong Cassidy is your typical stiff blond hero in all this.

Rick Rudge
Rick Rudge

If Gable wasn't in this in a supporting role it would be forgotten which is what this stiff oater deserves. Only Gable seems at all natural, he exudes star quality everybody else suggests trees.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

** (out of four) Mostly notable for a small early screen appearance by Clark Gable. You can see star quality all over him, but the rest of the film is dull and uneventful. In a emigrants camp, two friends find a baby boy alive. The place is deserted so they take the child to raise it, but they fight over who should be the primary father. The arguing goes on for years.

Steve Smith
Steve Smith

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