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Description: The self-styled son of Indian chief Geronimo gets himself involved with a gang of nasty whites in this typical low-budget 15 chapter serial, which benefitted from a nice deal of footage from the the stock piles at Columbia Pictures. Jim Scott (Clayton Moore) and wagon train boss Tulsa (Bus Osborne) are on to the nefarious schemes of Rance Rankin (Marshall Reed) and Ace Devlin (John Crawford), getting words of warning through to Portico (Rodd Redwing), the Son of Genronimo. With Portico's help, the white renegades are finally destroyed in the serial's concluding chapter, "Peace Treaty." Moore, the future star of the tv series The Lone Ranger, was here billed "Clay Moore." Usually cast as a villain, mustachioed Bud Osborne turned in a rare "good guy" performance in this serial.
Description: This western details a flying cowboy. He is a rancher who became a pilot. As a pilot he staunchly defends the newly formed Civil Air Patrol from the cattle barons who fail to see the value of airplanes on the range. The flying rancher proves that they are indeed valuable after he flies into a forest fire and saves a cattle rancher's daughter.
Description: A protegee of notorious outlaw Montana (Beery), young Tom Benton decides to stay on the nice side of the Law upon reaching maturity. Montana, however, has no such inclination to reform, the effect being a climactic gun duel between the ageing gunman and his former pupil.
Description: When Rangers Lucky and his brother chase outlaws, the brother is killed. To search the assassin Lucky quits the Rangers and robs the bank. This gets him into the outlaw gang where he learns of their next raid. Sneaking out at night he says his woman mate who gotta actually convince the Sheriff that Lucky is not an outlaw and that he gotta sent his boys out to catch the gang.
Description: The rangers -- Tex (Dave "Tex" O'Brien), Jim (James Newill), and Panhandle (Guy Wilkerson) -- are this time en route to Boulder Town to investigate the murder of rancher Dan Clark when they happen upon Trigger Farley (Reed Howes), a gunslinger hired by Cole Melford (Jack Ingram), the chief suspects in Clark's murder. Tex assumes Trigger's identity and Jim impersonates Tom Bancroft (Kenne Duncan), the heir to Clark's estate. After a bit of confusion concerning Ellen Clark (Christine McIntyre), the another Clark heir, the rangers receive their murderer and the two heirs explore that the ranch includes a secret mine.
Description: Black Hills Express gets off to a strong start, as character Lon Walker (Don "Red" Barry) and his sidekick Deadeye (Wally Vernon) pick through the bloody remains of a stagecoach holdup-massacre. Vowing to catch the varmints responsible, Walker is impeded by a crooked sheriff (Jack Rockwell) and a crookeder banker (George Lewis).
Description: Johnny Mack Brown's Universal western series was drawing to a close when Cheyenne Roundup was released in mid-1943. Brown is herein cast in a dual role, as honest Gils Brandon and his less-than-honest brother Buck. Pursued by lawman Steve Rawlins (Tex Ritter), Buck tries to pass himself off as the upright Gils.
Description: In this " Lone Rider" B-Western series entry, Tom Cameron (George Houston) and his pal Fuzzy Jones (Al St. John are deputy sheriffs supporting their mate Sheriff Smoky Moore (Dennis Moore) rid the zone of a nasty claim jumper, Blackie (played, as always, to the hilt by favourite B-Western villain Charles King).
Description: It is actually an agreed fact that the greatest of Johnny Mack Brown's Universal westerns were directed by the talented Joseph H. Lewis. Boss of Hangtown Mesa may not be in the same league as the Brown-Lewis classic Arizona Cyclone, but it comes awfully close. This time around, character Steve Collins (Brown) comes to the aid of Betty Wilkins (Helen Deverell), who has taken over the telegraph-line business established by her uncle John (Henry Hall). The latter was murdered by outlaws who don't cotton to having the zone linked up electronically with the rest of the world.
Description: Johnny Mack Brown substitutes brains for brawn during most of Texas City. Cast once more as a U.S. marshal, Johnny investigates when few government gold shipments are hijacked. Someone has been tipping of the outlaws as to when and where the supposedly secret shipments will take place. The principal suspect is dishonorably discharged cavalry officer Kirby (James Ellison), but Johnny has a gut feeling that Kirby is innocent on all counts.
Description: Arizona Gang Busters is other pre-WWII saber-rattler that finds a band of renegade gunmen, under the pretense of developing an irrigation project for the reclamation of arid desert land, using airplanes and parachute jumpers to gather valuable military notification for a European power.
Description: Bantam-weight western star Don "Red" Barry certainly deserved his designation as "The Cowboy Cagney" in Republic's Desert Bandit. Barry is cast as two-fisted Texas Ranger Bob Crandall, who after being dishonorably discharged heads to the Mexican border to begin life anew. He falls in with a gang of gun runners, headed by corrupt lawman Largo (William Haade). It turns out, of course, that Crandall's "disgrace" was merely a ruse to let him to work undercover in bringing Largo and his minions to justice.
Description: Johnny Mack Brown essays the game role in Universal's Fighting Bill Forgo. Returning to his home town, Bill Fargo takes over the operation of his late father's newspaper. He quickly gets swept up in political intrigue fomented by political boss Hackett (Kenneth Harlan), who has a pretty habit of rubbing out any and all honest candidates for the sheriff's office.
Description: Veteran burlesque comic Lee "Lasses" White replaced Emmett Lynn as comic sidekick "Whopper" in this fine Tim Holt Western for RKO. Whopper, Stan Bradford (Holt), and Smokey (Ray Whitley) are delivering a herd of package horses to telegraph lineman Jeff Corbin (Dennis Moore) when intercepted by smooth-talking Cobb Wayne (Harry Worth), who is in a deadly tournament with Corbin.
Description: The irrepressible Donald Barry is twice falsely accused of murder in this typical low-budget but well-mounted Republic Western. Barry plays Jim Randall, a lawman assigned to investigate a series of gold shipment robberies. Arriving in the middle of a hold-up, Randall finds himself accused of killing the driver (Yakima Canutt). Wells Fargo agent Cal Chambers (Milton Kibbee) vouches for his innocence, however, claiming him to be a noted geologist. Along with few of the prospectors, Jim devises a plan to prove that Jud Parker (Harry Worth) is using his dummy mine as a cover for stealing ore.
Description: Columbia's Lord of Dodge Town was the first of few westerns costarring "Wild Bill" Elliot and singing cowboy Tex Ritter. Though Elliot is billed first, the plot and action are evenly divided between the two B-picture favorites. The storyline takes zone in Kansas, just after the Civil War. Wild Bill Hickok (Elliot) is summoned from Dodge Town to Abilene, there to neutralize a crooked political machine. Hickok is aided each step of the method by Tex Rawlings (Ritter), a seemingly harmless drifter who is appointed sheriff after proving his prowess with his six-guns.
Description: Opera star-cum-cowboy character George Houston stars in PRC's The Lone Rider Wars Back. Appropriately enough, Houston disguises himself as a musician to receive the goods on a gang of terrorists. The principal villain hopes to scare the local miners off their land, so he can transport in and clean up.
Description: Wild Bill Hickock (William Elliott), aka The Peaceable Man, meters out justice in the tough city of Deadwood in this highly fictional western from Columbia. Unlike the historic character, Elliott's gunfighter survives his encounter with the South Dakota hellhole, where he arrives to aid beleaguered livery stable owner Clint Wilson (Richard Fiske) and his sister, Madge (Dorothy Fay), in their war vs self-appointed city czar "Flash" Kirby (Arthur Loft). But before he gets that far, there is a tiny matter of proving Kirby guilty of wrongdoing and to achieve that, Wild Bill earns the enmity of both the Wilsons.
Description: Pinto Child was one of Charles Starrett's last "formula" westerns before he permanently assumed the screen guise of the Durango Kid. The storyline takes territories just after the Civil War, with hostilities between Yanks and Rebels still in result between Kansas and Texas. The villain, cattle rustler Vic Landreau (Paul Sutton), intends to enjoy both factions down the middle for his own benefit. But Landreau meets his match in the form of wandering do-gooder Jud Calvert (Charles Starrett).
Description: The Lone Rider Tom assumes a former outlaw's identity (Keno) to learn where the gold from his last large heist is hidden. He tries to receive the database from Blackie Dawson, but Blackie gets suspicious.
Description: Outlaws of the Pandhandle was the last of Charles Starrett's "formula" westerns for Columbia: hereafter, Starrett would be seen only in the guise of frontier medico Steven Monroe or masked do-gooder The Durango Kid. For the moment, however, the star is cast as Jim Endicott, bound and determined to place an end to the underhanded activities of gin-mill operator Faro Jack Vaughn (Norman Willis). The villain's tactic is to receive the local cowpunchers tanked up on rotgut that they'll prove to be simple pickings for a gang of rustlers-and will be unable to finished work on a railroad spur which will bypass the outlaws' hideaway.
Description: Western star Charles Starrett makes one of his periodic forays into the Nice White North in Columbia's Royal Mounted Patrol. When villainous lumberman Frenchy Duvalle (Donald Curtis) refuses to limit his wood-chopping activities, he inadvertently touches off a forest fire. Trapped in the middle of the conflagration, Frenchy's only hope for rescue is mountie Tom Jeffries (Charles Starrett), presently scouring the countryside in his scout plane. Jeffries' reasons for bringing Frenchy out safely are twofold: he gotta deliver the renegade lumberjack to the authorities, and he happens to be in love with Frenchy's sister Betty (Wanda McKay).
Description: PRC's shoddy Frontier Marshal series came to a merciful end with this below-average Western starring radio personalities Bill "Cowboy Rambler" Boyd and Art Davis and former serial ace Lee Powell. They come to the aid of miner Pop Lawrence (Karl Hackett) and his daughter, Susan (Julie Duncan), whose foreman (Jack Ingram) is stealing tungsten ore on behalf of saloon proprietor Large Ben Salter (Charles King). Pop's son and heir, Joe (Howard Masters), is framed in his father's killing by the nefarious Large Ben, who wants to receive his greedy hands on Susan's inheritance, the Paradise Mine. Marshal Powell and his two rather inactive sidekicks are unable to save Joe's life and the movie ends on a rather downbeat note with Susan the only Lawrence left standing.
Description: In a saloon shooting, a cowboy thinks he killed Prince Katey, a boy he closely resembles. Cannonball arrives and thinking the cowboy to be Katey, gets him to return to the Katey ranch where the mother is in trouble. She thinks her missing son has returned and even though the Sheriff is chasing him, he decides to take up the mother's war vs the boy who is trying to throw her off the ranch.
Description: A nice entry in one of the better B-Western series of the 1940s, A Tornado in the Saddle starred Russell Hayden as the fresh sheriff of Crestview. Hot on the trail of a gang of claim jumpers led by Dalton (Tristram Coffin) and Slim (Donald Curtis), the novice lawman also has to deal with hotheaded wrangler turned deputy Bob Wilson (Bob Wills), whom he is constantly forced to fight, but only after prudently removing his sheriff's star.
Description: In this western, a ranch foreman and the bosses son go to a saloon to slake their thirst and search themselves in the midst of a war started by the feisty saloon owner's wicked ex-husband who loots the secure in the ensuing scuffle.
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No question about it--like Black director Oscar Micheaux (and others such as, say, Louis Gasnier and Charles Hutchison), Victor Adamson was a much better silent director than sound director. Movies such as this one and the much various OLD OREGON TRAIL are quite interesting and thoughtful for z-grade category product. First of all, PIONEER'S GOLD has a huge and interesting cast of characters. Spottiswoode Aitken, looking like a long-haired 80 year old John Kerry after a long weekend, is an old boy who is isolated and lonely and thinks of the girl he loved long ago. He finds her daughter, a schoolmarm (or "school ma'am" as the games call her), and offers her an inheritance if she marries his nephew (the son of his long lost brother) whom he hasn't seen for many years. A crook called "The Fox" who steals email shipments, steals the letter to the nephew offering him this deal, and then poses as the nephew...and then the schoolmarm is kidnapped by a girl crook (who is part of a wild psychotic hillbilly family that should have been out of the pages of a Flannery O'Connor story--Merrill McCormick, everytime colourful as a terrible guy, plays a grotesque member of this family who reminds me of Brad Dourif at his most off-the-wall in some weird indie horror film), who then poses as her! Leading boy Pete Morrison I'm most familiar with through his soon helping roles. I'd describe him as a mix between pre-1931 Rex Lease with a twist of pre-1933 Lyle Talbot. He's an interesting looking boy and I hope to see some more of his starring roles (any b-western fanatic has seen him in early sound westerns in helping roles). His riding skills are magnificent and he has a natural screen presence and is nice at projecting any number of moods. Running at about 62 minutes, PIONEER'S GOLD is a much better movie than it required to be as a piece of low-budget-western product, and has a complexity to it and a rich array of helping characters. Bravo to Victor Adamson. How should this be the same boy who made THE ADVENTURES OF Texas JACK or THE RAWHIDE TERROR???
The only thing I didn't like about this film was the indoor set used by Spottiswoode Aitken and George Lord which was obviously not a room in a western ranch house at all but a wide and narrow scene in some old theater. But I have no quarrels with the inventive script, the colourful acting or the invigorating direction. Taking the script first, it's a delicious who's who or who's which. An outlaw on the run, dubbed "The Fox", cleverly played by Les Bates, changes territories with the character of this adventure, played by Pete Morrison. And to confuse an inheritance trouble still further, super-sexy Virginia Warwick (who provides the greatest performance in the film -- and ALL the acting is surprisingly good) -- changes territories with our demure schoolteacher heroine, Kathryn McGuire. And to add zest to these impersonations, "The Fox" is being pursued by a posse that has no concept what he looks like but does know how he is dressed and what horse he's riding! I should receive side-tracked here by discussing Virginia Warwick's nourish family led by the strikingly senile Louise Emmons, but I'm sure each western fanatic who reads this tiny review will rush to purchase the perfect Grapevine DVD without any further urging.
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