Southern Hoosier "pioneers"
Wayne Engle | Madison, IN United States | 10/08/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I had a special, selfish reason for enjoying this vintage western: The action all takes place within 25-50 miles of my hometown of Madison, IN. When I began watching the movie I thought it was just another western -- until I heard the names "North Vernon" and "Seymour" mentioned. What a shock!
This was one of Randolph Scott's last few movies -- he was 57 by this time, rather long in the tooth to be playing Mala Powers' love interest. But he managed. After all, when you're tall, have kept yourself in pretty good shape, and still have all your hair, with a distinguished gray cast, you can get away with that.
The film moves along briskly -- slightly under 90 minutes in length -- and is based pretty closely on the true story of the Reno brothers, Hoosiers who pulled what is considered the first peacetime train robbery in world history on Oct. 6, 1866, near their hometown of Seymour. The train caper was just one of many done by the four brothers and their gang. They really did rob several county treasurer's offices -- some as far away as Iowa -- as depicted in the movie. And several of them really did meet the grisly end shown here, at the hands of an organized band of vigilantes who decided that Seymour and Jackson County in southern Indiana had seen enough of the Reno boys and that the law would do nothing about their career of crime.
A special added fillip to this movie is that one of the stars, Forrest Tucker, was a native Hoosier in real life.
The Reno brothers weren't Hoosiers to be proud of, and their "first" wasn't one to be bragged about by their descendants. But I'm just state-proud enough to say I'm glad they made this movie, and glad that it was so faithful to the true story of the Renos."
Roan version best of the lot.
Lawrence W. Stephens | 07/03/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is what appears to be. The master negative is lost, and is probably the main reason this went public domain. All the prints I have seen except the Roan are from the same print source. Soft focus, poor color, and full screen. It is probably not pan and scan but the print minus the masking used to make it 1:85. At least Roan put it to 1:85 and found a sharper and somewhat better color print, but with more sprocket wear. I compared both sources at about 20 places. The Roan version wins! This is the one to get. I doubt you will find any better. The source prints are the culprits, not the DVD Company. If you are a Randolph Scott fan (as I am) it is a good enough western. If not, this public domain print might not be your cup of tea."