3 Bad Men (1926)

3 Bad Men (1926), produced and directed by John Ford.

When gold is discovered in the Black Hills the Sioux are told to move along and a new Gold Rush begins. Three scruffy outlaws take charge of an orphaned young woman and try to find her a husband. Luckily they come across a fresh Irish immigrant -- already a seasoned cowboy -- that she has met before and regarded with favor.

We also have to deal with a crooked sheriff, a lost sister, the actual race of wagons into the new gold territory -- cast of thousands, looks like to me -- and the final shootout of our outlaws as they face down villains worse than they are.

The first thing I have to note about this mini-epic is that none of it was shot in the Black Hills of South Dakota and quite a lot was filmed in Jackson Hole, Wyoming with the unmistakable Teton Mountains in the background. This is the first entry in the IMDB for that location and a remarkable bit of cinema history.

How would our image of the West be different -- think of all those Roadrunner cartoons -- if John Ford had adopted the Tetons rather than Monument Valley as his favorite filming location?

This is a fun film, well-paced at 90 minutes. The surviving elements of the version I saw are not in great shape, but are watchable.

The new score by Dana Kaproff was recorded in 2007. It is a nice combination of traditional, retro-silent and more modern themes. Executive Music Producer: Nick Redman.

My thumbnails are from the Fox DVD, which includes Ford's Hangman's House (1928) on the same disc. It is also available on Blu-ray from Kino.