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The Far Country

(1954 c 97')

En: 6 Ed: 5

Two cowboys hope to sell their cattle during the gold rush at Dawson but run into a tyrannical sheriff and two interesting women.

         In 1896 Jeff Webster (James Stewart) brings his cattle into Seattle. Ben Tatum (Walter Brennan) welcomes his partner. Jeff has him pay off two cowboys with $200 and gives them back their guns, challenging them to use them; but one says he will live to see Jeff hanged. Jeff and Ben board a steamboat. Authorities on the dock plan to have Jeff arrested, but Ronda Castle (Ruth Roman) hides him in her bed.

         In Skagway they unload the cattle and nearly cause thee men to be hanged from a platform. Sheriff Gannon (John McIntire) reprimands Jeff and has him locked up. Renee Vallon (Corinne Calvet) brings a meal to Luke (Royal Dano) and Jeff in jail. They are taken to the saloon, and Gannon, sitting at a poker table, judges Jeff’s case. Jeff says the two cowboys tried to steal his cattle, and he is acquitted. Gannon confiscates his cattle as his fine for disturbing the peace. Renee gives Jeff his gun. Gannon tells Jeff and Ben they cannot cross the line into Canada unless they have a hundred pounds of food. Ronda hires Jeff to ride point, and they learn that she owns the Skagway Castle. Renee teaches Jeff how to pan for gold.

         In the morning Jeff and Ben join Ronda and leave for Dawson with horses carrying supplies. Jeff tells them where they will make camp, and at night he, Ben, and Luke sneak out and take their cattle. Renee alerts Gannon that they are taking the cattle. Jeff ambushes them and after a gun battle escapes. Gannon shouts to Jeff that he will hang him on his way back. Renee joins Ben and Jeff. She says she wants to get married. She tells Jeff that he should like people, or else he will be lonely.

         Back at the camp Jeff tells Ronda he is taking his cattle to Dawson. Ketchum (Harry Morgan) complains, but Ronda goes along. Jeff says they are not going over the snow but through the valley even though it is longer. Ronda says they are taking the mountain trail. Renee asks Jeff why he is going a separate way, and he says the snow can be dangerous. An avalanche comes down on the men with Ronda. Ben tells Jeff they have to help them. By the campfire they tell Jeff they lost three men. Ronda admits she was wrong. Renee sees Ronda kiss Jeff.

         The next day they see men on the trail shooting at each other. Jeff shoots one of the thieves who shot at him. They arrive in Dawson and meet Hominy (Connie Gilchrist) at the Haw House. She and Ronda want to buy the cattle and argue. Ronda wins the bidding with $2 a pound for her Dawson Castle. Ronda collects gold and tells Jeff she does not trust men. Jeff buys a claim. Jeff tells Ben he learned about a trail to Juno. Jeff tells Renee he is going hunting.

         In Haw House a wounded man is brought in and dies. Marshal Rube Morris (Jay C. Flippen) suggests they elect a local marshal. Renee suggests Jeff, who declines.

         Jeff tells Ben they are pulling out. In the Dawson Castle they meet Gannon, who says they owe the government. Gannon says he is staking a claim. Madden (Robert J. Wilke) kills Dusty (Chubby Johnson) for his claim. Luke comes in as sheriff, but Jeff persuades him to leave. Luke quits being sheriff.

         Jeff and Ben follow the river with four pack horses. They uncover a raft that Jeff built. Ben has coffee, and Jeff suspects he said something. Several men attack them, killing Ben, wounding Jeff, and taking their gold. Jeff makes it back to Dawson, and Renee takes care of him. Ronda comes in and offers Jeff coffee. Jeff thanks Renee, and she stalks out. Ronda says she is jealous and kisses Jeff.

         Men and Renee accuse Gannon of stealing their claims. Luke is drunk. Gannon knocks out Yukon, the new marshal. Ronda tells Jeff this is why they should get out of Dawson, and she confesses she is in love with him. Jeff asks the men if they are leaving. He takes off his sling and gets his gun. Jeff tells Gannon’s men not to take his claim. In the Castle saloon Gannon sends Madden to quiet Jeff’s bell. Jeff is not on the horse when Madden shoots, and Jeff kills him. Castle comes out to warn Jeff about Gannon, who shoots her. Jeff and Gannon shoot at each other under the sidewalk, and Jeff kills Gannon. Luke and Yukon wear badges and tell Gannon’s men to get out of town and stay away. Wounded Jeff is helped by Renee.

         In this violent western set in the Klondike gold rush, greedy men look for gold or steal it from others. Jeff believes in taking care of himself, but he also helps his friend Ben. Renee cares for others and tries to persuade Jeff to help others too. As usual the hero rises to the occasion and makes sure that the bad guys do not profit from their wickedness, and he gets the girl.

Copyright © 2009 by Sanderson Beck

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