If the picture misses as outstanding, it’s because the script and the direction are not up to the star and title combination. It sums as a swell idea that doesn’t quite come through.
Comedy drama has the colorful background of Buffalo Bill’s wild west show. Show business never produced a more glamorous personality than Col. Cody and Annie Oakley, famous rifle shot, was a star attraction in his aggregation. Her name was internationally known in the ’90s.
The film story tellers have sought to recount the events which led to Annie’s joining Buffalo Bill (Moroni Olsen), and have told a tale of romantic interest involving Annie (Barbara Stanwyck) and two of the troupe’s figures. Toby Walker (Preston Foster), famous marksman, and Jeff Hogarth (Melvyn Douglas), general manager of the outfit.
When the action moves to the wild west show, the interest in the characters and the story picks up considerably. Nothing has been spared in production, though the background lacks distinction, to reproduce the old-time show in its original form. Splendid feats of horsemanship and roping give excitement to the performance.
After the early scenes, where she plays a backwoods girl effectively, Stanwyck does little enough for the picture, probably because the material [from a screen story by Joseph A. Fields and Ewart Adamson] gives her few opportunities.