Starring Buck Jones
MOTION PICTURE NEWS
November 7, 1920
Buck Jones' last three or four pictures preceding this one have been just one shoot-'em-up Western after another. He has made good in them because he rode, fought, and protected the abused lady in the case in fine fashion, and now he should do just as well in a story of a widely different type. "Just Pals" is a human, interesting and appealing story, with interpolations of good audience incidents, and flavored with a bit of romance and, in the end, with action that suggests his former pictures.
The star has new responsibilities in "Just Pals," for he is cast as the village good-for-nothing. Deprived of his guns, his bucking broncho and a villain to pommel, he is called upon to act, and he does it. Sharing his responsibility is little Duke Lee, who plays "Bill," the little ragamuffin who becomes the pal of the good-for-nothing. Together they "bum" about the little village until the pretty school teacher, with whom the star is in love, demands that "Bill" attend school. The youngster defends the good name of "Bim" (the star) with his fists. "They said you were not fit to live with pigs," he explains. "But, gosh, I said you were!"
There is a succession of good incident, some of it really human and humorous, and some of it strained. The latter is the case when "Bim" is so kind-hearted that he cannot bear to kill some poultry to earn a meal. Melodrama develops when the school teacher loses the town's money entrusted to her care, and "Bim" brings it back, taking the blame for its disappearance. He is driven out of town, but returns to thwart a gang of robbers who are pillaging he express office. Again, because of his bad name, he is accused of he robbery and is about to be lynched when his little pal saves him. The story becomes just a bit complicated in the end, with the introduction of another kidnapped child and the collection of the reward by the star for his recovery.
But it is the human touches, both of comedy and pathos; the well-created atmosphere of the small Montana town; the very natural dialogue; and the picturesque character of "Bim," that will win favor for this picture. It is well directed throughout. Helen Ferguson is the leading lady.
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