Dealing with the Daltons
Anyone who has a love for westerns will have heard of the Dalton's they were one of the West's outlaw families and have appeared in various westerns over the years. But to my memory "When the Daltons Rode" is the only one I have watched which focuses on the family who turned outlaw although I would imagine the story of their fall into crime as victims of an unscrupulous land developer is more fiction than fact. Never the less "When the Daltons Rode" is a lot of fun, an old fashioned western which incorporates some familiar cliches into a jaunty little movie.
Tod Jackson (Randolph Scott - Jesse James) arrives in the town of Pioneer to see his old friends the Daltons having known them 20 years earlier when they were in Missouri. But despite being hard working people with their own ranch they are in trouble as an unscrupulous land developer is after their land. With Tod having trained in law he decides to stay to try and help them but when one of the Dalton's is set up for a murder things turn complicated. Not only do the Daltons turn to crime it also puts Tod in a difficult situation especially as he has got feelings for Julie King (Kay Francis) who is dating Bob Dalton (Broderick Crawford).
So as I said I doubt there is a great deal of fact to "When the Daltons Rode" and is little more than some western cliches twisted together. As such we have the unscrupulous land developers up to no good when it comes to getting land and in turn those no good tricks cause a family to fall foul of the law when they take matters into their own hands. And just for good measure we have to have the obligatory romantic issues with Tod falling for Bob's girl which of course will be worked out in some way which means that Tod won't be a bad guy.
The thing is that director George Marshall keeps this ticking over so we have some drama, some action, some romance and with Andy Devine in the cast some comedy as well. And all the actors play their parts with energy so that whilst not a single one isn't a stereotype they are generally entertaining be it Randolph Scott as good guy Tod or Kay Francis as the lovable Julie.
What this all boils down to is that "When the Daltons Rode" is just a typical 1940's western with Randolph Scott delivering his typical good guy performance. But it is entertaining and moves along at a pleasant pace so that it is never dull.