Old Joel Bentham (Harry Davenport) is awarded $50,000 as the last surviving Civil War veteran in his part of the country. His fellow townsmen in Cleardale are more than willing to help him spend it, but he remembers their neglectful years and decides to spend it as he sees fit. He offers a home to Meg (Dorothea Kent) who has been forced into a hobo life by economic stress and also takes in Ray Riggins (Robert Wilcox), wild young grandson of a war comrade. He promises to make Ray his heir, against the advice of his servant, Benjie Collins (Clem Bevans.) Ray plans, with the aid of some former criminal pals, to rob the old man but changes his mind and is fighting a losing battle against the crooks when a corps of American Legion men, coming to escort Joel to a train, mops up the robbers.Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The film stars Henry Davenport, so of course it's worth seeing.
This DVD is available from Alpha Video and unlike most of their releases the print is pretty good. Also, like other Alpha DVDs, this one has no captioning or special features (other than ads for other Alpha releases).
Harry Davenport was a wonderful old character actor and it's hard to imagine anyone not loving him in films. Here in "Young Fugitives" he has an unusual opportunity to actually star in a film instead of playing a supporting character--so I naturally had to get a copy of this film.
Early in the film, Davenport's friend dies and that leaves him as the only surviving Civil War veteran. Apparently, there is some sort of $50,000 survivors bonus that he's receiving--and suddenly the folks in his town go from neglecting him to loving him. Fortunately, Davenport is no dummy and sees right through them. He gives some of the money to a lady who deserves it but that still leaves him with $45,000--a huge sum of money for 1938.
Soon, however, a couple young people come into Davenport's life. During a roundup of 'hobos', a pretty young lady (Dorthea Kent) takes refuge with Davenport and he sort of adopts her. A bit later, the grandson of his recently deceased Civil War veteran friend (Robert Wilcox) comes to town after Davenport sends him a telegram. It's pretty obvious the guy is a bit of a user but Davenport tries to help him for the sake of his friend. But will this jerk disappoint or rise to the occasion? And what, exactly, does Davenport have cooking in his scheming mind? Tune in to this nice family film to find out for yourself.
While this certainly is not a great film, it's quite enjoyable and great for casual viewing. Don't expect "Gone With the Wind" in quality, but just a nice old fashioned story--the sort you certainly don't see any more. A cute script and Davenport....what more do you need?! By the way, two things I should point out. Davenport plays a Civil War vet--though he was actually born in 1866--a year AFTER the war ended. Also, the oldest Union and Confederate veterans actually did not die until the 1950s and by 1938 (when this film was made) there were actually quite a few vets still living.
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