THE DOOLINS OF OKLAHOMA are led by Randolph Scott in this pretty good 1949 western, with Randy as the outlaw who formed a new gang after the Dalton Brothers went out in a blaze of gunfire. The okay script from Kenneth Gamet (Flying Tigers, Wake Of The Red Witch) basically takes up where 1940’s When The Daltons Rode left off, though in the earlier hoedown Scott played a fictional character. Here, directed by the action-adept Gordon Douglas, he’s the real-life Bill Doolin, leader of what became “The Wild Bunch” (not the Peckinpah quartet), which eventually included Butch Cassidy. Cassidy is absent here, but a few of the gang names are thrown around for flavor to salt the mostly wishful screenplay.
“It’s a funny thing. She won’t marry me when I’m drunk and I won’t marry her when I’m sober.”
A good amount of shootin’, some amusing dialogue, and Scott (solid here) has able mischief backing from John Ireland, Charles Kemper and Noah Beery Jr. Playing a good guy for a change, and in a different genre than usual, is George Macready, as the taciturn lawman determined to nail Doolin and crew.
Grossing $3,100,000, tagging 112th place in ’49, a year kinda shy of genre company, though there was commendable dust kicked up by She Wore A Yellow Ribbon, Streets of Laredo, Colorado Territory and The Red Pony, and Scott (who’d moved into producing as well as acting) banged out three more in Canadian Pacific, The Walking Hills and Fighting Man of The Plains. Focusing exclusively on the genre, delivering comfort matinee fare on trim budgets, shrewdly managing his investments, Randolph Scott became one of the wealthiest men in Hollywood, a payroll-transfer feat an old desperado like Bill Doolin would get a wry smile from.
90 minutes, with Louise Allbritton, Virginia Huston, Dona Drake (as ‘Cattle Annie’), Gail Patrick, Robert Barrat, Jock Mahoney, Stanley Andrews, Trevor Bardette.
* A neat take on two Doolin followers is 1980’s Cattle Annie and Little Britches, with Burt Lancaster, Rod Steiger, Amanda Plummer and Diane Lane.