Boom Town

Synopsis: Buddies Big John McMasters and Square John Sand are fast-talking, wisecracking wildcatters who manage to con enough equipment and capital to develop their own oil fields, but their friendship is put to the test when Big John inadvertently falls in love with Elizabeth, Square John's longtime girlfriend. Eventually their friendship and partnership comes to an end on the flip of a coin. Years later, when Big John's interest in the beautiful Karen Vanmeer threatens his marriage too, Square John intervenes in an effort to save the marriage of his former friend - even if it means ruining him financially.
Director(s): Jack Conway
119 min

There you are. One dollar.

Big oil strike in California. Read all about it.

Read all about it for 2 bits.

Big oil strike in California.

There's a plenty big one here, bub.

Yeah, if I could only get me a string...

...of equipment, I got a piece

of ground that's a honey.

You got ground? You got ground.

Here, take a look at the core

from my lease.

Smell it. Down 800 feet

and run out of pipe.

Well, if it's pipe and tools you need,

there's Luther Aldrich now.

That tightwad.

Luther Aldrich? Where?

Where is he? Wh...?

Hey, 6 bits, please. Thanks.

Get around the side of me, fella, will you?

- Come on, I'm getting out here.

- Come on, mule.

Hello, Luther, old boy. Well, I haven't

seen you since the Kansas boom.

- I don't think I quite...

- We made a lot of money there, didn't we?

- Sand. John Sand? You remember me.

- Sand? I don't think I...

I'm spudding in my first well down here.

I'm going down about 1700 feet... I'll need quite a lot of equipment.

- Oh, equipment?

Yes. Mr. Sand, of course.

Well, come right over here.

What section are you thinking of drilling?

Well, my lease is in a new section

about 30 miles south of here.

- Thirty miles. A wildcat, huh?

- Some fellas might call it that.

Casing tools and lumber...

...will cost you about $ 7000 in cash.

- That's fine.

That's fine, fine. We'll just carry that

in an open account against my name...

...and then when the well comes in...

- I thought so, another deadbeat.

- These boomtowns reek with larceny.

- I may be down to my last couple bucks...

...but do you think I'd do it

if I didn't think there was oil?

You're an oil man, aren't you?

All oil men are crazy.

I've been swindled and hijacked

and I'm practically naked.

Mr. Aldrich, there's a million dollars in this.

Now, you know me.

I don't know you.

I don't know why I said I did.

What do people think I am, a good fairy?

Hey, brother. Four bits if you want to cross.

Or take it the hard way.

That's the way I take everything else.

Shorty, do you mind backing up

and letting me by?

Yeah, I do mind. Suppose you back up.

And don't call me Shorty.

Shorty or sonny,

what difference does it make?

You know, you're liable to get all muddy

if you don't put it in reverse.

- Move over, bud.

- I'm wearing Justin Boots with 4-inch heels.

They'll sure make big dents

in that little frame of yours.

Stop, or I'll shoot.

Put that six-shooter down.

I'm John McMasters.

I never heard of you.

And I got no time to start now.

Nice shooting, Harmony.

Right above the nose.

Sorry his nose was so close to you,

big feller.

What did he do to you? Talk back?

No, nothing personal. Just, he's been

around hijacking tools and equipment.

Hijacking? Yeah, that's bad business.

Ain't it awful?

I was just trying to arrest him.

Why can't folks be more law-abiding?

I'll go home and won't sleep good

again tonight.

I guess he will.

Hey, what do you...? John.

Hi, Evie. How's my

barrel of sweet Spanish crude?

Where you been hiding, honey?

Hey, what happened?

You jump out a window?

You know I wouldn't

turn my back on a lady.

- Hi, Larry.

- Hi, John.

- You been holding out on me.

- You ain't been around.

She just come over from New Orleans.

Lots of laughs.

Never been away from home.

Hey, 50 bucks. You'll spoil the kid.

You can't spoil baby lamb.

Besides, I got 800 in my poke.

Just brought in a gusher

for old man Wilson.

I'm here for laughs

and checking out in the morning.

You darn prairie jack.

Where you hopping to now?

I hear they brought in a big wildcat

out in California.

Wildcats. Always looking for wildcats.

When you gonna settle down, darling?

What the heck, Evie?

Travel and brag, brag and travel.

Maybe I'll hit oil where there ain't.

Throw a steak on the fire for me, will you,

with all the fixings. I'm gonna wash up.

Hey, Whitey.

I'll be back down like a spring breeze.

Don't let those apes

steal your peanuts.

They say that with diamonds

where I come from.

Yes, sir, Whitey.

A brass band in a bathtub.

Oh, excuse me.

Whip those mules, brother,

there's a run on the bank.

Say, listen, fella...

Well, well, it's Shorty again.

A man can get pretty sick

of running into a guy like you.

Yeah, you don't wanna get sick, though.

I might have to hold your head, Shorty.

I guess you didn't hear me the first time.

Don't call me Shorty.

Why not, Shorty?

Okay. Why should you and me

have an argument?

- One of us might get hurt.

- Yeah, that's right. One of us might.

You wanna use the bowl? I'm through.

Wait a minute, I'll fix it up for you.

- Well, thanks, Shorty.

- There you are. Put a little of that gin in it.

Cut right through that oil.

- Cheaper than water, anyway.

- Yeah.

- Yeah. Not bad.

- Quite a roll of scratch you got there.

Wouldn't be as much as 6 or 7 grand,

would there?

Supposing it is. You think you're gonna

pull a gun out of your rudder?

No, no, no. I just thought you

might be interested in spudding in a well... it up to a million.

- Oh, no. Nothing doing, Shorty.

I'm heading west. California.

I like them wild.

I hear a guy might do all right out there.

You don't want them

any wilder than this.

Look at this. All unproven, virgin lease.

Thirty miles south of here.

- So you think there's oil there, huh?

- You put up for the rig and the tools...

...and you're in for half. There's oil there.

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John Lee Mahin

John Lee Mahin (August 23, 1902, Evanston, Illinois – April 18, 1984, Los Angeles) was an American screenwriter and producer of films who was active in Hollywood from the 1930s to the 1960s. He was known as the favorite writer of Clark Gable and Victor Fleming. In the words of one profile, he had "a flair for rousing adventure material, and at the same time he wrote some of the raciest and most sophisticated sexual comedies of that period." more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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