DVD review: 'The Boy from Oklahoma'

The son of Oklahoma legend Will Rogers portrays “The Boy from Oklahoma” in a 1965 film about a reluctant sheriff who refuses to carry a gun.
BY GENE TRIPLETT Entertainment Editor etriplett@opubco.com Published: March 22, 2013
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‘The Boy from Oklahoma'

He was born in New York City, raised in Beverly Hills and he was 43 years old when he starred in the title role of “The Boy from Oklahoma.” He may have been a bit old for the “boy” part of the title, and his origins were far from red dirt country, but the name Will Rogers Jr. certainly seemed to make him just right for the role of an Okie.

This amiable oater from 1954 stars the son of Oologah's favorite son as Tom Brewster, an easygoing drifter who's studying law by correspondence course. As the story opens, he's riding into Bluerock, N.M. — a rowdy town where the sheriff was recently killed — to mail in his final exam.

When corrupt Mayor Barney Turlock (Anthony Caruso) discovers this good-natured stranger drinks nothing stronger than sarsaparilla and would rather twirl a rope than ever carry a gun, Brewster is offered the sheriff's job. He declines, but when his exam papers are taken in a stagecoach robbery, Brewster changes his mind and pins on the badge.

This gets him crossways with the dead sheriff's daughter, Katie (a feisty Nancy Olson), who has no respect for a man who won't tote a firearm, especially one who has the audacity to think he can fill her father's boots. But she begins to have a change of heart when Tom disarms Bible-quoting, trigger-happy town drunk Crazy Charlie (Lon Chaney, Jr.) with some homespun, gospel-based reasoning rather than a revolver. And when he determines to find out who murdered Katie's father, she starts to feel downright warm toward him.

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