Randolph Scott in “To the Last Man” (1933) – reviewed by George

The movie begins at the end of the Civil War in April, 1865. Mark Hayden (Egon Brecher) hopes he never hears another shot fired in his life. And Jeff Morley (Fuzzy Knight) says, “And you goin’ to Kentucky!” Mark replies, “I married into a feudin’ family, but I’m not raisin’ my children to be targets for another bushwhacker. I’m gonna move the family west.”
In Kentucky Lynn Hayden (Jay Ward) and Grandpa Spelvin (Harlan Knight) are happy that Mark will be home soon. They are in the woods with one rifle between them, and Grandpa tells Lynn that Colbys are better game than animals because they shoot back. Lynn, a deadeye who looks ten or eleven, shoots a game animal or bird and runs ahead to get it. A shot rings out and Grandpa drops to the ground mortally wounded. Jed Colby (Noah Beery) has killed him from ambush. Now, dying, Grandpa tells Lynn, “Never use that gun – except on a Colby.”
Granny Spelvin (Eugenie Besserer) tells Lynn, “Your pappy’ll take care of Jed Colby when he gets here.” But Mark hates the feuding way of life, so he goes to the law. Jed is arrested, tried, and sentenced to only 15 years for ambushing an unarmed man. But it’s a feudin’ way of life in Kentucky.
Mark takes his family and joins a wagon train going west, and when they arrive in Nevada he stakes a claim and starts a family cattle ranch. And fifteen years later Jed is released.
Mark’s family consists of Lynn (Randolph Scott) unmarried, a daughter Anne (Gail Patrick) and her husband Neil Stanley (Barton MacLane) and their two children, Tad and Mary Stanley (Delmar Watson and Shirley Temple), and Mark’s youngest son Bill (Buster Crabbe) and his wife Molly (Muriel Kirkland). Yes, Shirley Temple, instantly recognizable and uncredited. She was around five years of age, and already had appeared in eleven pictures.
Jed has only one child, Ellen Colby (Esther Ralston), who is the target of the lust and ambition of Jim Daggs (Jack La Rue). Daggs is an ex-con with some money and he has located Mark to get in good with Jed. So Jed and his crew go to Nevada and take over an abandoned homestead a half-day’s ride from the Hayden Ranch.
The feud will continue, no matter what Mark wants, and many will die, and in the midst of the carnage Lynn and Ellen will fall in love. The big finish involves dynamite and a rockslide.
Consistently vital, the film captures you and doesn’t let go.
Novel by Zane Grey, Screen play by Jack Cunningham, Directed by Henry Hathaway.

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