Fool's Gold (1968)
Nature or Nurture
As the leader of the Darcy Gang, Darcy (Robert Lansing) is not surprised to be sent to prison when Marshal Crown (Stuart Whitman) and his men foil the gang when it tries to steal the army payroll from the Cimarron bank. But Crown is more sympathetic to The Kid (Robert Random), the youngest member of the gang, and arranges for him to go and stay with Malachi Grimes (Slim Pickens) on his horse ranch in the hope that Grimes will help make the Kid see sense which he does. When Darcy escapes from prison and comes looking for revenge against Crown as well as Grimes the Kid must decide which side his loyalties lay.
Considering episodes of "Cimarron Strip" only lasted 75 minutes, without adverts, when you watch episode 16 "Fool's Gold" it feels like it takes an age to get to what is the actual story. We get a whole lot of build up as the army payroll arrives in Cimarron, then we have the robbery at night and the initial capture of The Kid and then we have Jim and MacGregor plus his posse tracking down Darcy and his gang who have crashed at Grimes' horse ranch. It seems almost ordinary which is the last thing you expect from an episode of "Cimarron Strip".
But of course all this is a build up to Crown putting The Kid in the care of Grimes knowing that given the chance the Kid could turn good, something which won't happen if he is tossed in to prison. And of course this switches the drama to what the Kid will do when inevitably Darcy gets out and comes looking for revenge. In a way the familiarity of this is a little disappointing as what I have loved from other episodes of "Cimarron Strip" has been their originality. Having said that this familiar themed storyline is well worked with Robert Lansing having an evil stare whilst Slim Pickens is well cast in the nice guy rancher role.
What this all boils down to is that "Fool's Gold" is an okay episode of "Cimarron Strip" which like the others works well as a stand alone movie. But this does feel not only familiar but also drawn out.
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