Film: Last of the Wild Horses
Last of the Wild Horses is a 1948 western film directed by Robert L. Lippert.Drifter Duke Barnham finds himself in the middle of a budding range war in Jacksonville, Oregon between local land baron Charlie Cooper and the other smaller ranchers in the area, over Cooper's prideful refusal to stop poaching mares from the local wild horse herd. A practice that would soon mean the end of the herd.What no one knows is that the conflict is being secretly provoked by Cooper's ranch foreman, Riley Morgan, who plans to start a full on-war between the ranchers, then step in and buy up the lot when the law eventually rounded up the ranchers.Can Duke, along with Cooper's daughter, Jane, female ranch hand Terry and Jack-of-All-Trades Remedy make Cooper see the light before tragedy strikes?note Can they expose Riley's treachery?note For the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version, please go to the episode recap page.
This movie has examples of:
- Cold Opening: The opening shows scenes of the climatic fight between Duke and Riley.
- Distracted by the Sexy: When Remedy has trouble extracting Curly's tooth, the tomboyish Terry appears in something more feminine. Curly notices, & then his tooth gets yanked out.
- Evil Chancellor: Riley (Wild West flavor)
- Honor Before Reason: The entire conflict is pretty much fueled by Charlie Cooper's refusal to even compromise.
- Lovable Rogue: Duke. The film works hard to make you forget that, in the film's opening scene, Duke would've robbed that rider, had Riley's henchmen not beaten him to the punch.
- Love Triangle: A mild one between Duke, Jane and Terry.
- Meaningful Name: Remedy.
- Police Are Useless: The Sherriff can't or won't do anything about the other ranchers' complaints, because Cooper pretty much holds his leash, a fact Riley uses to bully him into deputizing his henchmen.
- Pride: Cooper refused to let anyone tell him what to do, even when his actions were clearly in the wrong. Said pride also leads to Cooper's death, as he confronts Riley and a henchman alone, rather than tell the sheriff what he'd heard or simply waited for backup.