The Law of Contact

Zane Grey's Man of the Forest (August 25, 1933)

Verna Hillie and Noah Beery in Man of the Forest

Released on August 25, 1933: Evil Clint Beasley wants Gaynor's ranch and his niece, and will murder Gaynor to get them both.

Directed by Henry Hathaway

The Actors: Randolph Scott (Brett Dale), Verna Hillie (Alice Gayner), Harry Carey (Jim Gayner), Noah Beery (Clint Beasley), Barton MacLane (Mulvey), Buster Crabbe (Yegg), Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams (Big Casino), Vince Barnett (Little Casino), Blanche Friderici (Mrs. Peg Forney), Tempe Pigott (Madame), Tom Kennedy (Sheriff Blake), Frank McGlynn Jr. (henchman Pegg), Hank Bell (buffalo hunter), Roy Bucko (henchman), Fred Burns (Fred), Jim Corey (Red), Lew Kelly (Matt Hawkins, foreman), Duke R. Lee (henchman Jake), Tom London (buffalo hunter), Jim Mason (henchman), Merrill McCormick (henchman), Blackjack Ward (henchman).


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When I was young and in love with television, Jim Garner was one of my favorite actors. First he was Maverick and then private detective Rockford. In both roles he was 'human.' Most of the screen stars from the old days were 'perfect' - they were always in total control. No so with Garner - he would often have problems that were just plain irritating, and there was nothing he could do about it but endure it. It isn't Jim Garner that is in this movie, but one of the characters that I always associate with him. In his Rockford Files television show he had a father - Noah Beery Jr., who played Joseph Rockford, a retired truck driver. Well, you got me . . . it isn't Noah Beery Jr. that is in this movie either . . . but it is his papa, Noah Beery Sr. - or just Noah Beery. Now, if you remember Jr. from his movies and television shows, when you hear his father's voice you will hear him also. If you close your eyes you can even see him. In some of his father's movies you will even see the son in papa's face, but not this one. In this Zane Grey epic adventure Noah Beery is the bad guy. And he is very, very bad, which is an unusual part for him to play. Anyway . . . all of that to tell you that when I see papa Beery, I always think of James Garner . . . Okay . . . I'm weird . . . I'll admit it . . .

Plenty of famous actors in this movie, and as usual with a Zane Grey story, very complex characters and a feel of 'this is really happening' as you surrender your emotions to the actors. Harry Carey is Jim Gayner, who has homesteaded his ranch for twenty years, but because of spending time in jail he cannot legally file for the Homestead act coming up in ten days. Evil Clint Beasley, played by lovable Noah Beery, wants Gayner's ranch, and will stop at nothing to get it. He thinks that he will have the ranch in ten days when the Homestead act takes effect, because an ex-con cannot file for Homestead act land. But rancher Gayner has a pretty young niece that he has invited to come to the ranch to live with him, and file the ranch in her name. Drats! Now evil Clint Beasley won't get the ranch after all. But wait . . . what if Beasley kidnaps young Alice to prevent her from reaching the ranch and taking ownership? Double Drats! Young Brett Dale (handsome Randolph Scott) finds out about the planned kidnapping, and he kidnaps Alice from the kidnappers!

What a mess we are getting into. Now evil Beasley must raise the stakes so that he can take over the Gayner ranch. He will stab Gayner in the back, killing him. Then he gets the Sheriff, who is his good friend, to arrest handsome Brett for the murder. Then he kidnaps Alice again . . . er . . . I mean . . . he takes Alice to his home to 'protect' her, and to keep her away from the Gayner ranch. So we come to the crisis point quickly when the next morning Clint will be hung for a murder that he did not commit, Beasley will file a Homestead act claim for the Gayner property, and poor Alice will be in the clutches of the evil Beasley for the rest of her life, with no one to help her escape his lecherous grip. What on earth could Zane Grey be thinking? How could he let such a terrible thing happen to such a pretty young girl? Who will save her? Who will finally give Beasley what he deserves? You are thinking that of course the handsome leading man, Randolph Scott, will get Beasley in the end, but you would be wrong. Dead wrong. Just keep munching your hot buttered white kernel popcorn and find out for yourself who it is that will bring the evil Clint Beasley to his just rewards.

Randolph ScottVerna Hillie
Randolph Scott - 1933Verna Hillie - 1933
Harry Carey and Noah BeeryGuinn Williams and Vince Barnett
Harry Carey and Noah Beery - 1933Guinn Williams and Vince Barnett
Buster Crabbe and Barton MacLaneBlanche Friderici and Tempe Pigott
Buster Crabbe and Barton MacLane - 1933Blanche Friderici and Tempe Pigott
Brett's Cats
Brett Dale's catsVerna Hillie and Noah Beery
Randolph Scott and Verna HillieTom Kennedy and Frank McGlynn Jr.
Randolph Scott and Verna HillieTom Kennedy and Frank McGlynn Jr.