"Outlaw" movies are my least favorite Western subgenre, but I found THE YOUNGER BROTHERS enjoyable as such films go.
Cole (Wayne Morris), Jim (Bruce Bennett), and Bob (James Brown) Younger have served time in prison and are hoping for a pardon from the state of Minnesota, after which they plan to return to their home state of Missouri with their kid brother Johnny (Robert Hutton) and Jim's sweetheart Mary (Geraldine Brooks).
A nasty Pinkerton agent, Ryckman (Fred Clark), hates the Youngers, as they cost him his job. He's a relentless Javert-like character, who doesn't care if the Youngers plan to be honest farmers; Ryckman is determined to put them all back in jail -- or worse -- no matter what it takes. To that end he plots along with Kate Shepherd (Janis Paige), ringleader of an outlaw gang.
It's a given that the screenplay by Edna Anhalt probably contains little, if anything, to do with the Youngers' true history! In this case I particularly appreciated that, as outlaw movies go, this one was happily un-tragic.
The film wasn't especially exciting, but it was a well-paced 78 minutes and I enjoyed spending time with the congenial cast, filmed in Technicolor. It's a lesser Western but fans of the cast and the genre will probably enjoy giving it a look, as I did.
I particularly liked Bennett and Brooks as devoted sweethearts and would have been happy if they'd had even more screen time. Morris as Cole is the wild man of the bunch; he's well matched with Paige's fiery Kate, although since she plays a genuinely bad woman one can probably guess how her story turns out. Brown tended to blend into the background, but Hutton registered well as the brave youngest brother.
Alan Hale (Sr.) has some very nice scenes as the sheriff. The cast also includes Tom Tyler, Monte Blue, and Ian Wolfe.
Edwin L. Marin, who also directed the last Western reviewed here, Randolph Scott's CANADIAN PACIFIC (1949). THE YOUNGER BROTHERS was filmed in Technicolor by William E. Snyder.
The Warner Archive DVD is a nice print with William Lava's energetic musical score sounding great. The disc includes the trailer.
Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this DVD. Warner Archive releases are MOD (manufactured on demand) and may be ordered from the Warner Archive Collection at the WBShop.