Abilene Town (1946)
Director: Edwin L. Marin
Starring: Randolph Scott (Dan Mitchell), Ann Dvorak (Rita), Rhonda Fleming (Sherry Balder), Edgar O'Brien (Sheriff 'Bravo' Trimble), Lloyd Bridges (Henry Dreiser)
Black and White, 89 minutes
The movie is an old one and it shows its age a bit in spots, especially night time shots. The movie is o.k., but that's about it. It does tell the story of the cattle drives on the Chisholm Trail north and its trail end at Abilene, Kansas. The movie catches the ambiguity among the town residents. They wanted the cowboys' money, so they did not want the marshal to be too hard on the high-spirited cowpokes. But, on the other hand, it was hard to raise a decent family in a town constantly plagued with crazy cowboys, shootings, dance halls, prostitution and lots of alcohol and drunkenness.
Randolph Scott, as the sheriff, is the man caught in the middle of the conflicting demands of the cowboys and the town residents. He, of course, is one of the sources of the strong silent type of hero. Comic relief is provided by the country marshal "Bravo" Trimble (played by Edgar O'Brien) who plays the coward very well.
One surprise was that the strong, silent hero went for the wild girl (Ann Dvorak) rather than the wholesome woman (Rhonda Fleming).
Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.
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