The color is rich and Aaron Copland's score matches it. Milestone's trademark roving camera glides through the parched scenery and slowly eases us into it. There's also an extraordinary montage sequence of Miles fighting a buzzard (Milestone began as an editor and made a star out of Rin Tin Tin), ten years before The Birds, the same techniques—a rapid substitution of fake bird and real bird in looming closeups, with intense cutting and striking graphic compositions.
Despite the big names involved and being Republic's costliest project to date, it's a quiet movie that finds it's strength in the small things, in Robert Mitchum's gestures and Myrna Loy's glances. The story, a simple one about a boy being given a pony and what happens after, is given space to develop, and the color, while encompassing everything Technicolor has to offer, is muted and subtle, gently creating a landscape that extends far beyond what one can see.