Is there a log file I can peruse, or settings somewhere that might give me a clue?

I'm running GNOME nautilus 3.14.3 ("Files") in Ubuntu 16.04.

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As a start, you could run it from the terminal and observe its output there.

It's probably necessary to kill the background daemon first.

killall nautilus

There is also usually crash info regarding Nautilus at /var/log/syslog (Open with Gedit). And of course at /var/log/apport.log

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