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Just Pals (1920)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama, Western | 21 November 1920 (USA)
Small-town tramp befriends runaway boy.


John Ford (as Jack Ford)


John McDermott (story), Paul Schofield (scenario)


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Cast overview:
Buck Jones ... Bim
Helen Ferguson ... Mary Bruce
Georgie Stone ... Bill (as George Stone)
Duke R. Lee Duke R. Lee ... Sheriff
William Buckley William Buckley ... Harvey Cahill
Eunice Murdock Moore Eunice Murdock Moore ... Mrs. Stone
Bert Appling Bert Appling ... Brakeman
Edwin B. Tilton Edwin B. Tilton ... Dr. Stone (as Edwin Booth Tilton)
Slim Padgett Slim Padgett ... Outlaw
John B. Cooke John B. Cooke ... Constable


Bim is the town ne'er-do-well, lazy and shiftless, living a catch-as-catch-can existence. He feels no shame about his tattered clothing and seems impervious to the derision and ridicule he endures from his fellow citizens in his rural, early 20th Century village. Despite this, Bim is a kind-hearted soul, and that becomes very apparent when he rescues a young runaway from a beating by a railroad cop at the expense of being beaten himself. Young Bill reciprocates Bim's kindness and has to endure taunting and abuse from the school bully to defend his 'pal.' Bim wants Bill to rise above his station and encourages him to bathe and attend the town's modest one-room schoolhouse presided over by pretty schoolmarm Mary Bruce. She is being courted by the outwardly respectable bank clerk Harvey Cahill, who has embezzled funds from his employer and ungallantly presses the kind-hearted Mary into lending him the school memorial fund money she is entrusted with to cover the shortfall for the bank ... Written by duke1029@aol.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama | Western


Not Rated | See all certifications »






Release Date:

21 November 1920 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Amici per la pelle See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Fox Film Corporation See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This was John Ford's first picture with Fox Films after his contract with Universal Pictures expired. See more »


When Bim is on the porch talking to Cahill, the lighting on Bim's right side medium close-ups and left-side close-ups do not match. See more »


Bim: [Laying in the hayloft watching two others pitching hay] You guys work so hard I get tired watchin' you.
See more »

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User Reviews

John Ford at Fox
7 December 2007 | by bobliptonSee all my reviews

John Ford -- still credited as 'Jack' Ford -- moved from Universal to Fox and directed this Buck Jones comedy-drama as his first effort. He directed it competently for the era, without much in the way of flair, but it is interesting in that he would return to this theme of the ne'er-do-well who turns out to be a pretty nice guy throughout his career -- his best handling of the theme would probably be with the series of comedies he directed Will Rogers in a decade and a half later.

In the meantime, though, Ford was still finding his way, constrained by the fact that he was working with Buck Jones, a competent but not extraordinary actor, instead of Harry Carey; his mise-en-scene is constricted by the town setting of most of the show, although there are some nice shots about two-thirds of the way through when the robbery is being planned out of town by the bandits; and the lack of the extraordinary stock company of actors he would accumulate over the next forty years, The result is pleasant enough, although if it weren't for the fact this were a John Ford picture we wouldn't think it worthy of much commentary. Nonetheless, given that Ford is arguably the greatest director in the history of cinema, this movie is worth seeing, and our thanks are due to the people at Fox for making a beautiful DVD edition available in their amazing FORD AT FOX set.

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