Despite the presence of the formidable Barbara Stanwyck in the title role, Cattle Queen of Montana is only a fair little Western. Stanwyck, of course, is an asset in just about anything, and here she is the major draw. Possessed of the rare ability to convey glamour while remaining down-to-earth and to be both vulnerable and as hard as a rock, she puts all these qualities to good use, trying to breathe life into a tired screenplay that features little of interest. Stanwyck manages to make the clichéd script come to life about as often as is possible; when she's offscreen (which, fortunately, is not very often), things don't fare so well. Co-star Ronald Reagan| is bland, Gene Evans lacks the menace and authority that this villainous part requires, and the rest of the cast is no better. Director Allan Dwan does what he can with the material, and every now and then he manages to bring in a small, but welcome. Surprise. He's aided by cinematographer John Alton, who takes full advantage of the location lensing. It doesn't make Cattle a good movie, but it does take the pressure off of Stanwyck for a while.
by Craig Butler review