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Montana Reviews

MONTANA is a blessedly short film, and yet, at 76 minutes, feels like forever. Flynn, an Australian, was playing an Australian for only the second time (the first being DESPERATE JOURNEY). We also have the opportunity to hear his thin baritone warbling on a duet with Smith in "I Reckon I'm Falling in Love" (Mack David, Al Hoffman, Jerry Livingston), but that's all there is to recommend this cliched "sheep man versus cattle folks" story. Filmed at the Calabasas Ranch owned by Warner Bros. in the far west region of the San Fernando Valley, it looks just fine, but there's far too much mushy stuff and not enough action for true fans of the genre. Flynn is an Australian sheepherder who comes to Montana to find some grazing space in Montana's predominantly cattle area. Smith is a rich cattle baroness who controls most of the territory, along with villain Kennedy, and she resents the intrusion of those smelly critters. Flynn doesn't reveal himself as a sheepman and pretends to be other than what he is in order to learn more about the situation. Another sheepman is knocked off, but Flynn and Smith are managing to get along well together--until she learns what his true vocation is. Once that's discovered, Flynn is whacked around, and a range war is about to begin between the cowmen and the sheepmen. A stampede of cows is sent to trample the sheep, but Flynn diverts them, then takes his sheep to town and, in the end, he and Smith are reunited. One other song, "Cielito Lindo" (sung by Galindo), and some humor from Sakall, but little else to separate this western from a thousand others. Flynn had starred in several huge westerns in the 1940s, and this was an obvious attempt to re-create those vast films on a minuscule budget.