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Ho-hum western with an obvious ending.
A bit melo-dramatic for a western. Clark Gable romancing the ladies primarily.
Light-hearted mix of the Western, mystery, comedy and romance.
As formulaic as its script may be, Walsh's direction and Gable's charisma buoy the film enough to make it an enjoyable experience.
Cash Is the Ultimate Family Tie
An interested aspect of the Code is that it was more okay for a male to be a rogue and a rascal than a woman. At least, a lovable rogue and rascal, the kind you want to get away with a certain amount of unseemly behaviour. You can have female villains; the [i]femme fatale[/i] rose to her greatest heights under the Code. However, the [i]femme fatale[/i] must somehow be punished, be it by death or by the force of Law. She can't merely wink at the camera and escape penalty the way male characters could. Yes, the Code strictly held that Crime Must Not Pay. But there are a lot of things which aren't exactly crimes but also aren't quite inside the traditions of society, and the double standard only grew stronger under the Code. Whether it was an intended effect or not, I cannot say. All things considered, I wouldn't be surprised. Either way, the violation of that double standard was the only surprising thing about this movie.
Dan Kehoe (Clark Gable) just happens to be passing through some obscure little town or another when he finds out that a family of four bank-robbing brothers used to live on a ranch outside town. Their mother, Ma McDade (Jo Van Fleet), still lives there. Three of the four brothers were burned beyond recognition in a standoff with the Law after a bank robbery, and the fourth has disappeared without a trace. All four were married, and all four wives live with Ma McDade, waiting to see which of the brothers will come home. The money from the last robbery has never been found. None of the four know which one is not a widow, and they all wait for whoever's husband it is to come home--and claim his share of the money. Kehoe goes out to the ranch in the hopes of solving the case--and running off with the money--but Ma shoots him. Kehoe manages to convince her not to kill him, but she knows exactly why he's sticking around. And all four women would love to run off with him.
In fact, all four women are ready to run off with him before they've even had a conversation with him. I won't reveal which one turns out to be the rogue, but even the good church-going one is perfectly willing to run off with the stranger even though she isn't quite sure if she's a widow or not. The four women gather eagerly around the breakfast table despite the fact that none of them have interacted with him while he was conscious. Oh, I imagine at least part of it is wanting to get away from Ma and the Middle of Nowhere. Living on that ranch couldn't be much fun, and it's quite clear that, without their husbands' shares of the loot, the women didn't have any kind of stake. Leaving wouldn't be easy; leaving might not even be possible. Still, it's not a great picture of women if you stop to think about it. It ought to be obvious that Kehoe was more interested in the money than in any specific woman, but none of them much seemed to care.
Oh, and Clark Gable was fifty-five. Jo Van Fleet was forty-two. The other four women were floating on one side or another of thirty. Okay, yes, Jo Van Fleet looked older than she was, but it wouldn't surprise me to know that it was makeup. Any way you look at it, this is an ongoing issue that doesn't owe much to the Code. Women just aren't allowed to age in Hollywood and never have been. A man is allowed to be shown in a romance with a woman literally decades his younger; Sean Connery and Woody Allen have both had onscreen romances with women young enough to be their granddaughters. (Okay, and offscreen, in Allen's case.) But unless all four of the McDade wives were with men ten years their junior, they literally were not young enough to be Ma's daughters-in-law. And heaven forbid a woman in a film be in a relationship with a man young enough to be her grandson without it being the point of the film. Though I admit that most people I know find Woody Allen creepy when he does that kind of thing, and he seems to have stopped casting himself as a romantic lead at least.
Yeah, okay, there's more to the story, and by focusing on feminist issues, I'm missing some discussion. On the other hand, I'm not missing much. Because there simply isn't that much here to discuss. Con man goes after money, kind of gets conned. There just isn't that much more to the story except the bits you probably aren't supposed to be considering. I freely admit that Clark Gable was still a handsome enough man, if not the sort of person where teenage girls would be singing "You Made Me Love You (I Didn't Want to Do It)." Judy Garland did that on film, and it was believable--but it was also 1937. What might make a more interesting version of the story would be if he were romancing [i]Ma[/i] and the wives were trying to prevent her from giving the money which they thought was rightly theirs to the stranger. Of course, it's also worth noting that no one seems much concerned that the money isn't rightly theirs. How dare the sheriff (Roy Roberts) try to get it back?
An ok film, no real adventures or suspense here. A very intriguing premise. The cast wasn't even all that terrific in this highly character driven story, not sure if that was the directors doing but it was bland and one dimensional.
The only film Gable starred in and produced. Clark Gable reprises his role in Gone With the Wind, this time as a fugitive, a western style Rhett Butler. Only thing, he just doesn't strike me as a desperado or gunfighter.
Gable sings a little, plays the organ a little, shoots a little, whistles a little and courts 3 widows for their knowledge of a hidden treasure of stolen money.
All but one of the sons of a grieved mother were killed off but hid a lot of stolen money. The wives live with the mother-in-law. Someone knows the location of the stolen money. Clark Gable goes about trying to find out who knows what and woos and charms everyone along the way.
This is quite a slow paced (yet 86 minute) and tedious film to sit through. Quite a waste of the great Gable in my opinion even though he's in most every scene (this film was the first and last of his own production company). Of course, he's made to be some still handsome, swaggering visitor which all the girls fall for. Gable surely got the message somewhere in his career that he was past being a sex symbol, but not in this film.
While a slow suspense drama set in the West, this just didn't seem to keep my attention. Despite the great Gable I found this one boring. The mother, Jo Van Fleet is tiresome with her bitter attitude and granny-shoots-first mentality.
The legend music score artist Alex North contributes little to the soundtrack. FYI, Gable gave up his production company GABCO, when this film failed at the box office. No wonder, it failed in my living room. After this film, Gable just freelanced as an actor like everyone else.
Oh, one more bit of trivia. The movie was based on a 25 cent book.
Jay Flippen C.
Jo Van Fleet
Cinematographer: Lucien Ballard
Editor: David Bretherton
Producer: David Hempstead
Screenplay: Margaret Fitts
Story by: Margaret Fitts
Production Designer: Wiard Ihnen
Editor: Louis R. Loeffler
Composer: Alex North
Costume Designer: Renie
Screenplay: Richard Alan Simmons
Director: Raoul Walsh
Executive Producer: Robert Waterfield
This is a boring movie I saw on TV, I didn't even watch it all since I was so bored with it, but if you like westerns and silly romance movies, maybe you'll enjoy it.
Enjoyable if forgotten little western starring the King, Clark Gable as a drifter who's out to find the gold hidden on an out of the way ranch occupied by a crusty old lady and her 4 lonely and beautiful daughters-in-law (Barbara Nichols, Eleanor Parker, Jean Willes, Sara Shane). The women may all be widows and haven't seen their men in years so are all man-hungry in their own ways. Getting near the end of his life and career, Gable is still as smooth and watchable as ever. Not one of his greatest films, but a nice little buried treasure.
Fairly forgettable western. I only watched it on the MGMHD channel because I wanted to see a widescreen print since the film has only been released on VHS. Raoul Walsh has directed much better films.