Barbary Coast Gent (1944)

Barbary Coast Gent (1944)

Roy Del Ruth directed this comedy Western (his first) that was written by William Lipman Grant Garrett (aka Garett) and Harry Ruskin featuring Wallace Beery in the title role.

Beery plays a stylish rogue with a checkered past named Honest Plush Brannon. Plush is loved and supported by Lil Damish (Binnie Barnes) a nightclub owner in San Francisco. As the picture begins Plush is confronted by Duke Cleat (John Carradine) a man who just got out of jail for taking the rap when he and Plush got caught in a crooked deal. Lil had vouched for Plush so he served no time which naturally infuriated Duke. Even though Plush is able to shoot and wound Duke first the local police suggest Plush should get out of town before they are forced to arrest him.

With some money from Lil Plush takes a train east intending to go to Denver but instead stops in “Gold Town”. Through a series of comic occurrences Plush convinces the residents of “Gold Town” that he is a millionaire and is then asked to be their guest even dedicating the cornerstone laid for their new jail. Plush quickly becomes a “respectable” member of the community. He runs into a former colleague with whom he used to rob trains in the old days asking him not to tell anyone about their past. His colleague is happy to oblige given the fact that he is now employed to protect Wells Fargo stagecoaches from crime.

Though Plush’s initial intention is to scam the town by selling stock to a fake goldmine and departing in the dark of night he actually discovers the real thing making a claim which will allow him to go legitimate for the first time in his life. However Duke shows up and robs him of the town’s capital he needed to start the mine. So he decides to rob the stagecoaches to get the needed funds leaving notes of poetry in the Wells Fargo strong boxes once he’s taken the loot. This along with his friend’s past become issues to be resolved (somewhat non-predictably I might add) in the end with help from Lil a Wells Fargo detective and Duke.

Henry O’Neill also appears.

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