Across the Plains (1939)
Brothers in Law
As children Jack and Jimmy were travelling with their parents in a wagon train when it came under attack. With the brothers hiding under blankets they are unaware of who is doing the attacking and so when Jimmy is grabbed by one of the outlaws leading the attack Jimmy believes him when he says he is rescuing him from Indians. A little while later Jack is found by local Indians who with no other adults around take him to their village to raise him. The years pass and Jimmy becomes known as the Kansas Kid (Dennis Moore) who has been hired to lead a wagon train although in truth he is an outlaw working for the outlaws who had taken him as a child. Meanwhile Jack having been raised Indians goes by the name Cherokee (Addison Randall) and finds himself in a confrontation with the Kansas Kid with neither realising they are kin.
I've watched quite a few of these old westerns from the 1930s, the sort which generally come in a shade under 60 minutes and for the most they trade on very similar stories. But as you can see "Across the Plains" is different, it features this element of brothers separated as children ending up on either side of a situation with one a good guy the other a bad and initially oblivious to the fact they are kin. In truth it isn't a hugely original idea but it certainly adds something to this western which otherwise has all the traits of one of these early westerns from the pretty girl to be a love interest down to good guys wearing white and bad guys wearing black.
But there is something else about "Across the Plains" and compared to some other westerns of the time director Spencer Gordon Bennet has done a good job of capturing the scenery. In fact I would even say that whilst Bennet was no John Ford his use of the location helps to make this old western memorable which is definitely not something you would say about many an early western.
What this all boils down to is that "Across the Plains" whilst still an old western mainly for those with an obsession to watch as many westerns as possible has some nice stuff going on and more memorable than many other early westerns.
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