Gun Smoke (1931)

Genres - Crime, Western  |   Run Time - 64 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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William Boyd is one of the stars of the Paramount western Gun Smoke -- only it's not the same William Boyd who later essayed the role of Hopalong Cassidy, but another actor who billed himself as William "Stage" Boyd. The plot was a familiar one to western devotees of the early 1930s: a bunch of urban gangsters, forced out of the Big City when the cops put the screws in, head to Idaho to continue their crooked activities in the Wide Open Spaces. Unfortunately, the bad guys, headed by Kedge Davas (Boyd), haven't reckoned with the resourcefulness of cowboy hero Brad Farley (Richard Arlen) and his saddle pals. Farley and company organize a vigilante group to purge the territory of the gangsters, adopting tactics that might in any other circumstances be considered fascistic. The unspeakable Davas finally comes to a well-deserved end when he falls from a mountain top (a cinematic tour de force for cinematographer Archie J. Stout). It may seem hopelessly hokey and outdated in synopsis form, but Gun Smoke is as entertaining in the 1990s as it was six decades earlier; indeed, a recent screening of the film in the small Idaho resort community of Ketchum earned a standing ovation from the audience.

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Keywords

bad-guy, big-city, cowboy, gangster, good-guy, lawman, opposition, outlaw [Western], prairie, town