The Cariboo Trail (1950)

The Cariboo Trail (1950)
 
 

Scott gets Grizzly

Randolph Scott in The Cariboo Trail (1950)

Jim Redfern (Randolph Scott) plans on running a cattle ranch and along with his partner Mike Evans (Bill Williams) and cook Ling (Lee Tung Foo) are driving a herd of cattle north to Canada although for Mike his plan is on joining the gold rush. Along the way they have some trouble with Bill Murphy (Douglas Kennedy) who works for Frank Walsh (Victor Jory) and guards his extortionate toll bridge which Jim refuses pay and so stampedes his heard across, wrecking it in the process. They also end up picking up Oscar 'Grizzly' Winters (George 'Gabby' Hayes) an old prospector who hasn't had much luck prospecting. But when one night their herd is stampeded by some rustlers Mike ends up injured and Jim has to amputate his arm leaving the two men at war with each other. When they get to their destination Jim finds his dreams being blocked by Walsh who blocks his ranch plans. But maybe luck is just around the corner.

There is a scene in "The Cariboo Trail" where Jim finds Mike injured on the floor following the stampede and it is a scene which should be hugely dramatic as Jim makes the quick decision that he needs to amputate Mike's arm. What we get is Ling asking Mike if he is hurt, which of course is painfully obvious that he is and then we have Oscar looking horrified when Jim puts his knife into the hot embers of the fire as he rushes to amputate Mike's arm. It is sadly a rushed scene with no power at all just a musical swell to try and gives some sense of danger.

But that sense of being quickly made with no attention to detail and over acting flows right through out the movie making "The Cariboo Trail" a forgettable movie by anyone's standards and frankly below par for a Randolph Scott western, one of 12 which he made from 1949 to 1951. It is not just the cheesiness and rushed feel which lets it down as everything from the action to the outcome is just as disappointing and in some cases the action is embarrassingly cheesy. All of which is frustrating because when you look at the story "The Cariboo Trail" has some nice ideas and with enough money as well as the right person behind the camera it had the potential to be exciting

What this all boils down to is that "The Cariboo Trail" is a weak western and really now one of those movies you look to watch if you are either on a mission to watch every western ever made or all those featuring either Randolph Scoot or George 'Gabby' Hayes.

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