The Spoilers (1942 film)

The Spoilers is a 1942 American Western film directed by Ray Enright. The movie is set in Nome, Alaska during the Nome Gold Rush, with Marlene Dietrich as Cherry Malotte, Randolph Scott as Alexander McNamara, and John Wayne as Roy Glennister, and culminates in a spectacular saloon fistfight between McNamara and Glennister.

The Spoilers
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRay Enright
Produced byFrank Lloyd
Lee Marcus
Screenplay byLawrence Hazard
Tom Reed
Based onA novel
by Rex Beach
StarringMarlene Dietrich
Randolph Scott
John Wayne
Music byHans J. Salter
CinematographyMilton R. Krasner
Edited byClarence Kolster
Frank Lloyd Productions
Charles K. Feldman Group
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • May 8, 1942 (1942-05-08) (Los Angeles)
  • June 11, 1942 (1942-06-11) (United States)
Running time
87 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$1.1 million (US rentals)[1]

The Spoilers was adapted to screen by Lawrence Hazard from the 1906 Rex Beach novel of the same name. Film versions also appeared in 1914, 1923 (with Noah Beery Sr. as McNamara and Anna Q. Nilsson as Malotte), 1930 (with Gary Cooper as Glennister and Betty Compson as Malotte; this is the only time that Gary Cooper and John Wayne played the same role in two different films), and 1955 (with Anne Baxter as Malotte, Jeff Chandler as Glennister, and Rory Calhoun as McNamara). Marlene Dietrich, Randolph Scott, and John Wayne also appeared together that same year in a movie called Pittsburgh. Scott was billed above Wayne in both movies, even though Wayne's role was larger and more important in each, not only because Scott had been a star for much longer, but also because he was under contract to Universal, whereas Wayne was borrowed from Republic.

Bestselling poet Robert W. Service (not credited) plays The Poet, a fictionalized version of himself.[2]

The film was nominated for an Oscar for Best Art Direction (John B. Goodman, Jack Otterson, Russell A. Gausman and Edward Ray Robinson).[3]


Nome, Alaska, 1900: Flapjack and Banty come to town to check on their gold mine claim. Saloon owner Cherry Malotte is aware of the corruption all around, including that Bennett and Clark are out to steal the men's claim.

In on the crooked scheme is the new gold commissioner, Alexander McNamara, as well as the last word of law and order in the territory, Judge Stillman. So the bad guys usually get their way.

Cherry's old beau, Roy Glennister, returns from a trip to Europe. He is attracted to Helen Chester, the judge's niece. Roy makes the mistake of siding with McNamara, damaging his relationship with his longtime partner, Al Dextry.

Roy realizes he's been deceived as McNamara and Stillman prepare to steal at least $250,000 while the mine's case awaits appeal. Helen is now in love with Roy, who begs Dextry's forgiveness and persuades him to rob a bank to take back the wealth stolen from them. Both Glennister and Dextry don black faces to disguise themselves.

The Bronco Kid kills the marshall but Roy gets the blame. He is arrested and a plot forms to kill him, but Cherry comes to his rescue, breaking Roy out of jail. A fierce fistfight with McNamara results in Roy getting back his mine and his girl.


See also


  1. "101 Pix Gross in Millions" Variety 6 Jan 1943 p 58
  2. "Extended Biography,", July 21, 2003, 4. Web, Apr. 4, 2011
  3. "NY Times: The Spoilers". NY Times. Retrieved 2008-12-14.
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