Sunday, February 23, 2014

Silent Sundays: The Winning of Barbara Worth (1926)


“So you are in love with Barbara Worth?”
“Yes sir- I love her more than anything else in the world.”

            The Winning of Barbara Worth begins in the early 1900s when parts of the West were still being settled. Jefferson Worth and his men were looking for land in the desert suitable enough to settle in and eventually bring water to that region. A huge sandstorm kicks up. A mother and her young daughter were riding through the desert heading West as well. The storm demolishes her wagon in seconds. When the storm is over Jefferson finds the girl alive covered by the cloth from around the wagon. Her poor mother did not make it. Jefferson raises the little girl named Barbara himself.
            Fifteen years later Jefferson’s plan to bring water to the region is near. He is working with two men named Willard Holmes (Ronald Coleman) and Greenfield to finance the Gateway a dam to bring part of the Colorado River their way. Holmes and Greenfield are out in the desert coming into the town with their car. Surveyor Abe Lee (Gary Cooper) and his father are out in the desert as well. They see Barbara (Vilma Banky) riding on her horse. Her horse suddenly goes wild and throws her. Both Willard and Abe rush out her. Abe has to go back to his father and Willard stays with Barbara.
            That night at a party Willard dances with Barbara and Abe is jealous seeing her dance with someone else. Willard confesses to her that he loves her. She tells him he will have to do more than say that that he loves her he has to prove it.
            Soon water is found and the entire town moves to a new town christened Kingston. Greenfield soon becomes greedy and sneaky. He fires Jefferson and his crew from working on the dam because, as he says, they are spreading rumors that the dam is weak and will eventually burst onto the town. Abe thinks Willard is on the scheme with Greenfield. The whole town is mad at Willard. Barbara leaves with Jefferson and Abe to start their own town. Their new town of Barba is happy if only for a little while. Greenfield has been hindering everything from Barba including the payroll to pay the men. Willard is no longer working with Greenfield after he drove out so many people and is messing with Barba. He goes to a financer from New York for help for the new town. Jefferson goes to the same man and is able to get backing and the payroll with some help from Willard. Abe went along with Jefferson and is sent along ahead to take the payroll money back to town. Willard goes with Abe for protection as well as to get back to Barbara.
            Along the way home Greenfield sent men to stop Abe and Willard in Devil’s Canyon. Both men are shot but are able to get away. Abe was shot in the leg and cannot continue the journey in time so he gives the money to Willard to take back. Willard gets the money to the people just in time before they were to burn the town down.
            News comes that the dam is about to burst onto Kingston. Willard wrangles together the men from the town to go warn the inhabitants of the other town. The town is turned into chaos with people running all over and driving furiously in their wagons for their lives.
            But all is a happy ending with Barba prospering into a paradise in the middle of the desert and Barbara winds up with Willard.          

            The Winning of Barbara Worth was alright. It tried to be a love triangle between Ronald Coleman, Vilma Banky and Gary Cooper but I figured Coleman was going to get the girl because Cooper was not even billed on the poster. This was before Gary Cooper became Gary Cooper the big Hollywood heartthrob he would become in the 1930s. The scenes of the flood were a little too long for my liking they could have ended sooner. The story was only so-so I was not crazy about it. I only suggest watching The Winning of Barbara Worth if you are a fan of any of the three cast members or like western which, to me, this is somewhat one.