This film is sort of like "The Spoilers II", as the three leads in this film had just starred in THE SPOILERS and the tone and style of the two movies are so similar. Once again, Marlene Dietrich, Randolph Scott and John Wayne star as people who are all determined to strike it rich, and like the previous movie, they do. But it all comes at a great cost, as Wayne slowly looses sight of what was important in life and he slowly becomes a twisted and greedy industrialist. At the same time, Scott and Dietrich are waiting in the wings---waiting and hoping that Wayne will come around to his senses.
The film begins during WWII and Scott is making a patriotic speech about how everyone needs to continue giving their best for the war effort. Then, in an office, Scott, Wayne and their old friends reminisce about the old days. At this point, the film gos back about twenty years. All of them are poor and Scott and Wayne are humble coal miners. However, to impress Dietrich (who wants more out of life than to just marry a humble miner), he connives and builds himself a dandy little empire.
Oddly, although the film is set in the 1920s, Universal Studios did a lousy job of trying to achieve the look. Everyone dresses like they do in the 40s and the cars are all late models--barely a 20s-era car in sight! This is just sloppy. While it doesn't ruin the film, this must be considered when giving the film a rating.
Also, while Wayne does a very good job of evolving into a total jerk, because the film starts out with Wayne and Scott together, you know that eventually, Wayne changes back to the character he was at the beginning of the film. This takes out all the suspense, plus it seems a bit hard to believe--after all, he was very, very bad before this. On top of all this, the preachy narration seemed preachy and the WWII propaganda aspect was a bit heavy-handed.
Despite the film following this formula and the anachronisms, the movie still is quite entertaining and worth seeing. Just don't expect Wayne's or Scott's best.