Synopsis: A U. S. Marshal tries to help a prospector who has discovered a deposit of natural cement he is trying to sell to an old west town looking to build a dam but is running into interference from an unscrupulous businessman that is looking to jump the prospector’s claim so he can continue to make money by freighting stone to the dam site instead.
Movie Review: Mule Train (1950)
A review of the musical western starring Gene Autry and Sheila Ryan.
I had an opportunity to watch this short western film when I was home for lunch earlier today, a decision I made mostly because of the movie’s length (roughly an hour, which allowed me to watch it and still get back to work) and because I do like Gene Autry’s films. And, even though I wasn’t really sure what to expect from this movie, I did think it was pretty decent.
One thing I really liked about this film was the way it changed things up a bit and, instead of having the bad guys being after a gold mine or something similar, have them be after cement. It was somewhat unique because it reminded me things like cement weren’t always readily available at the local hardware store and I could see how it would be of a lot of value in the middle of a desert, where people needed to build dams in order to have a steady supply of drinking water.
The movie also wasn’t as predictable as I thought it would be. Yes, there were quite a few things that were expected, such as Autry finding a romantic connection with the local sheriff (Ryan), who happens to be female. But, there were also a few twists with this movie, including a lack of clarity about the sheriff’s real intentions when it became clear she might be working for the same guy (Livingston) Autry was trying to stop. In fact, up until I realized this, I couldn’t help but be curious why Autry wouldn’t tell her he was a marshal.
Buttram was pretty decent as the prospector Autry was trying to help/his comic sidekick. However, there were times when he did honestly remind me a lot of his Green Acres character Mr. Haney, especially when he was trying to sell his cement and I confess it was a little difficult keeping the two roles separated.
As I said, there are some things about this movie that are a little predictable and there really weren’t a lot of surprises about how this movie ended. However, overall, I thought this was a pretty decent western and I did enjoy watching it over my lunch hour.
My Grade: B
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