Dissension arises between cattlemen in Osage County, Texas, and sheepherders who have settled there and use the same watering stream. Mart Dalton, son of a wealthy cattleman, quarrels with ...
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Dissension arises between cattlemen in Osage County, Texas, and sheepherders who have settled there and use the same watering stream. Mart Dalton, son of a wealthy cattleman, quarrels with and kills one of the settlers, thus placing sheriff Larry Williams in a delicate position; for he is Mart's best friend and is engaged to Mart's sister June. However, sworn to do his duty, he arrests Mart, incensing the cattlemen, who help Mart escape, leaving Larry wounded.Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In well-mounted early talkie "B" Western, Dawn Trail, Buck Jones plays a good-natured sheriff caught between mutually hostile and well-armed camps of cattlemen and sheepherders. The lawman's situation becomes even stickier when he has to arrest the boozy brother of his pretty fiancé (Miriam Seegar) for the murder of a sheepherder. The big rancher father of fiancé and brother, played by stalwart character actor Erville Anderson, marshals a small army of cowhands to break the bad boy out of jail. All the while a showdown over water rights between the hell-bent cattlemen and the equally obstreperous sheepherders is coming to a boil.
Dawn Trail is very serviceable little Western in spite of being plagued by all the creakiness of early sound movies, such as the hum of the sound camera's motor heard in the background and players having to speak unnaturally distinctly for the benefit of the primitive microphones. There is lots of action, but with a minimum of bloodshed and other violence. Characterization is quite good. As with all good stories, the well-developed characters drive the plot, rather than being manipulated by the plot, as in cheap potboilers. No doubt this picture was produced on a relatively small budget, but it was well used. Costumes are colorful and authentic-looking, though Jones' hat is about the size of a beach umbrella, and some the the women's outfits betray the influence of the late flapper era in which the picture was produced. Sets are likewise well-turned, especially the rancher's Victorian house. Credit prolific director Christy Cabanne and a solid cast for acting above the usual low standard for little Westerns. Tall, muscular, masculine and mild-mannered, Buck Jones was a handsome cowboy hero. Obviously an expert horseman, he once had his own Wild West show, and he even knew how to shoe a horse!
Dawn Trail is an exciting, dramatically engaging, and colorful Western. Not a great one, but solidly entertaining. Lots of little atmospheric touches. Get an eyeful of the saloon floozy's dance in the opening scene! If you love Westerns from the classic, era you will eventually run out of "A" Westerns you haven't seen. There is, however, a huge trove of little "B" programmers to draw from, and Buck Jones' pictures are a cut above the rest.
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