Series: Stan Laurel

Director: Ralph Cedar
Producer: Hal Roach
Photography: Frank Young

Stars: Stan Laurel, Ena Gregory, James Finlayson, Mae Laurel
Company: Pathé Exchange
Released: 25 November 1923
Length: 2 reels
Production No.: L-3
Filming dates: August 20 - September 1, 1923
Rating: 5/10

The Soilers

Available on DVD:

The small mining town of Numb, Alaska becomes the battleground between a crooked lawyer (Finlayson) and the newly-arrived two-fisted daredevil Canister (Laurel), who is the owner of a string of mines. When Canister discovers a small fortune in the waters of the Double-Cross Mine (the money, made up of real coins and banknotes have fallen into the water from a previous incident where gunmen opened fire on a stranger weilding a moneybag), word quickly spreads.
The sheriff's office soon get wind of the find and the sneaky Smacknamara (Fin) states his intention to stake a claim on the money for himself. Escorted by his heavies, they ride out to the mine.
Later, Smacknamara retreats to the local saloon with the sheriff when he is confronted by Canister who threatens to break him with his bare hands. Outside the street cleaning department gets to work on clearing up all the corpses on the ground after a gunfight, whilst the cross-eyed soda clerk (George Rowe) is asked to rid some unsavoury gentleman from the saloon by a woman (Mae Laurel). Using a rigged pair of die (with all sides showing a single-dot) he takes all their money. Back at the mine, the heavies are playing cards in a small shack as Canister approaches with a bunch of dynamite and plants it under them.
"In three minutes I'll blow you a mile high! May the best man come down first".
The guys escape as the hero makes a phone call, timing himself with a total of twelve clocks to ensure he has enough time to get out before the explosion. Of course, he is unaware that his assistant has planted another load of TNT under the same hut with him in it. The place explodes, leaving just the front door standing. Eager to impress his sweetheart (Ena Gregory) Canister makes his way into town to confront the corrupt lawyer. An immense physical fight takes place between them which is frequently interrupted by a suspiously-looking gay cowboy. Exhausted at the conclusion of the battle Canister boasts to the women in vain of his victory, but the only one listening is the gay cowboy who kisses a plant then drops it on his head, before the sanitation boys come to clear him up off the street.

Favourite bit
There are a handful of very good scenes here, but the one that made me laugh the most was when Stan gets the dynamite and picks up the shack with one hand to throw it underneath. The guys inside are playing cards and all start rolling around the room due to the unexpected incline of their floor.

Copyrighted November 23, 1923.
This was a parody on a western movie released the same year called "The Spoliers" starring Milton Sills.
One of the few solo comedies from either Stan or Ollie to get its own listing in the Laurel & Hardy Encyclopedia.
The shack in which Stan throws the dynamite underneath is very flexible. Look when he picks it up how much it wobbles. A scene later on when the guys all try to escape through the windows it can be seen again how easily the whole structure had been put together.
The name of the city is Numb and the name of the saloon is The Silver Dollar.
In the saloon there is a picture of a woman with her exposed breasts hanging above the bar.
The alarm bells look very much like a pair of breasts.
My opinion
Average. (That's good for a Stan Laurel solo film!)

Stan Laurel
Bob Canister
Ena Gregory
Helen Chesty
James Finlayson
Mae Laurel
Woman in bar
George Rowe
Eddie Baker
Jack Ackroyd
Billy Engle
Jack O'Brien
Jack Gavin
Glenn Tryon
Gay cowboy
Marvin Loback
''Tonnage' Martin Wolfkeil
Patsy O'Byrne
Woman in hat
Chris Lynton
Don Maines
Joe Bordeaux
Sam Lufkin
Chet Brandenburg
Stan Laurel's double
Jack Hill


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Acknowledgements: (poster and 8 lobby cards)
Laurel Or Hardy by Rob Stones (book)
Steve Rydzewski (identification of Patsy O'Byrne)
Peter Mikkelsen (still)
Jersse Brisson (help; identification of Chris Lynton, Sam Lufkin, Chet Brandenburg, Marvin Loback and Don Maines)

This page was last updated on: 28 May 2022