Time: 118 mins.
Rating: Not Rated
Genre: Action/Western/Civil War
Not to be mistaken as a sequel to Flynn's earlier western adventure DODGE CITY, this similarly titled classic actually takes place during the Civil War and centers on a secret mission to smuggle millions of dollars of gold into the Confederacy. Flynn, of course, is on the Northern side of the conflict and charged with stopping his old enemy, played by Randolph Scott, from succeeding in moving the gold out of Virginia City, Nevada (a hotbed of Southern sympathy) and into Texas. There are several subplots one involving Hopkins as an ex-Southern belle torn between her loyalty to her home and her new love for Flynn and the other about a mean-spirited, half-Mexican bandit (in an unintentionally funny turn by Bogart) who keeps turning up like a bad penny to ruin the plans of our heroes.
Rather than watering down the main mission, the subplots actually add depth to the characters' internal struggles and bring an element of real danger to the proceedings. It's a tale filled with romance, history, explosions, gunfights, self-sacrifice, true love, betrayal and honor. Though clearly on opposite sides of the issue, Flynn and Randolph's characters are both upstanding gentlemen just doing what they can to help their side win the war. If the gold gets through, it would turn the tide of the conflict, re-energizing the South's flagging spirit by providing desperately needed supplies and possibly dragging out the fighting indefinitely.
Flynn's superiors make it quite clear that his failure is not an option. However, after spending time in the enemy camp, he begins to see the situation through their eyes. The final chase through the Southwestern desert provides ample excitement as the beleaguered wagon train is forced to battle both Union soldiers and ruthless bandits. When confronted with the choice about what to do with the gold, Flynn's quick decision keeps the stash out of Confederate hands, but not exactly in the way that his superiors had intended. He personally lands in hot water, but his actions prove to be a small first step towards national unity.