NEVADA. Paramount, 1927. Gary Cooper, Thelma Todd, William Powell, Philip Strange, Ernie S. Adams, Christian J. Frank, Ivan Christy, Guy Oliver. Based on a novel by Zane Grey. Director: John Waters. Shown at Cinevent 38, Columbus OH, May 2006.

NEVADA Gary Cooper

   Gary Cooper is “Nevada,” a wandering cowboy with a tendency to get into trouble, who, with his sidekick Cash Burridge (Ernie S. Adams), seeks refuge on a ranch whose owner’s sister (Thelma Todd) quickly develops an interest in Nevada that’s not welcomed by Clan Dillon, her suitor, played by a polished (as always) William Powell. Ranches in the vicinity are being victimized by cattle rustlers and Nevada goes undercover in an attempt to ferret out the secretive mastermind whose identity is known only to Cawthorne (Ivan Christy), foreman of the ranch owned by Todd’s brother.

   It’s good to see Todd in a leading dramatic role and she and Cooper make a highly combustible pair of lovers. The unmasking of the villain and the rehabilitation of the trouble-prone Nevada come together in a fast-paced climax that wraps up this fine Western drama in a most satisfying fashion.

   The touch I most enjoyed was a meeting between Nevada and the still unidentified villain, with the villain’s face masked by a light shining into Nevada’s eyes, a nice variation on the masked villains of the ever popular chapter plays of the ’20s and ’30s.