The Doolins of Oklahoma (1949)

Genres - Western  |   Sub-Genres - Biopic [feature], Docudrama  |   Release Date - May 27, 1949 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 90 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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Randolph Scott gives his usual competent performance in this above average Western, which also benefits from a taut and slightly ironic script that almost, but not quite, avoids whitewashing yet another near-legendary gang of outlaws. In reality, Bill Doolin was captured by legendary lawman Bill Tilghman (who also cornered outlaw-turned-movie actor Al Jennings), but managed to escape and was eventually killed by a posse. That story would have made for an exciting Western-drama, but the Production Code was still in force and writer Kenneth Gamet instead depicted his protagonist as someone who wanted to lead a straight life in a changing world only to have the past come back to haunt him. Although the supporting performances are uniformly good, second-billed Louise Allbritton is wasted in the small role of John Ireland's faithful girlfriend. A comedienne once favorably compared to Carole Lombard, Allbritton deserved much better, and, not surprisingly, The Doolins of Oklahoma proved her final Hollywood film. The Western was lensed not in Oklahoma, but on that favorite location of Hollywood producers, the Alabama Hills at Lone Pine, CA.