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(1932 b 68')

En: 5 Ed: 5

This story of a nightclub singer who becomes a mail-order bride on a farm was based on Arthur Stringer's play The Mud Lark.

Nightclub-singer Joan Gordon (Barbara Stanwyck) gives back jewelry to bootlegger Eddie Fields (Lyle Talbot) but gets dumped by a rich young man who found out she had been involved with him. She flees to Montreal, but Eddie's men find her. So Joan gives her maid, who had sent her photo, $100 to replace her as a mail-order bride. In North Dakota Jim Gilson (George Brent) welcomes Joan; they get the license, ring, and married on the way home to his farm. In the bedroom he kisses her roughly, and she slaps him; he goes out to the barn. The neighbors come to "shivelry" the new couple by getting drunk. They play post office, and Joan apologizes privately to Jim; but when everyone has left, she is still sleeping alone.

Jim learns the bank is going to foreclose on his mortgage if he does not get $800. He has good seed, but he can't plant until spring. Bull McDowell offers to take over his mortgage if Jim will work on salary and Joan will become his housekeeper; but they decline. On December 31 the temperature is minus four, and they spend all day getting a load of coal. At midnight Joan kisses Jim, but he says he has not earned her love. Joan replies, "Isn't love the one thing you don't have to earn?" Joan goes and helps a mother with her new baby. She comes back in a blizzard to discover Jim has taken Eddie in for the night. Jim asks her about Eddie and gets upset. Joan tells Eddie she loves Jim even though he does not seem to love her. The banker gives Jim fifteen days to get the money, because McDowell has offered to buy the place. Joan finds Eddie in the beer hall and borrows $800 from him. Jim comes in and fights with Eddie. Joan pleads with Jim on the way home. In the next scene Joan pays the banker the $800 and has him send a letter to Jim telling him he has until September. Joan helps Jim sow seed and harvest the wheat. McDowell's men set fire to their wheat, but Jim and Joan put out the fires with blankets. Joan collapses, and Jim carries her. Finally she is going to put him to bed.

This romantic story contrasts the city night-life to hard and simple farming. The shy farmer prolongs the suspense to the anticipated conclusion, enabling the audience to want them to get together for most of the movie. Honest hard work pays off and foils the lusty neighbor.

Copyright © 1999 by Sanderson Beck

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