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BLAZING THE WESTERN TRAIL (director: Vernon Keays; screenwriter: J. Benton Cheney; cinematographer: George Meehan; editors: Henry Batista/ Paul Borofsky; music: Tommy Duncan; cast: Charles Starrett (Durango Kid/Jeff Waring), Tex Harding (Himself), Carole Mathews (Mary Halliday), Nolan Leary (Bob Halliday), Alan Bridge (Forrest Brent), Edward Howard (Jim McMasters), Dub Taylor (Cannonball), Virginia Sale (Nellie), Steve Clark (Dan Waring), Bob Wills (Bob), Texas Playboys (Themselves), Edmund Cobb (Sheriff Turner), Frank LaRue (Postal Inspector); Runtime: 60; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Colbert Clark; Columbia Pictures; 1945)
A well-paced B-Western with bouncy home-spun country music, a snappy formulaic story and a dashing cowboy hero in a white hat.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A well-paced B-Western with bouncy home-spun country music, a snappy formulaic story and a dashing cowboy hero in a white hat. Director Vernon Keays (“Trigger Law”/ “Lawless Empire”/”The Utah Kid”) gets all he can out of this routine Western and then some. Writer J. Benton Cheney keeps things elementary and pleasantly Western. Dub Taylor provides the comic relief, with the running gag of him courting Virginia Sale and taking a few pratfalls for his romantic efforts.

Unscrupulous stage coach owner Forrest Brent (Alan Bridge) hires gunman McMasters (Edward Howard) and his gang to rob stage coach rival owners Bob Halliday (Nolan Leary) and his pretty daughter Mary Halliday (Carole Mathews) so that he can get a valuable government postal contract based out of the Quanto Basin territory in the West by showing they are more efficient than their rival. Things look glum for the Halliday line, as they are about to lose not only the postal contract but their business when Jeff Waring (Charles Starrett) and his sidekick Tex Harding (Himself) appear out of nowhere to halt a robbery on the trail. Jeff is visiting his honest uncle Dan Waring (Steve Clark), the unaware manager of the Brent line.

When Dan discovers Brent is crooked, he goes to warn Halliday but is shot in the back by McMasters. Framed for the murder, Halliday is jailed without bail until the trial takes place in three months. Jeff knows Mary’s father is innocent and schemes with Tex to help her continue running the line without her dad while getting the evidence that Brent killed his uncle and is behind the robberies.

The postal contract will be decided by a stage coach race between the rival lines, with Jeff working for Brent but sabotaging his efforts as the Durango Kid. Meanwhile Tex and Cannonball (Dub Taylor) work for Mary, as Tex rides the stagecoach to victory in the race and secretly helps the Durango Kid stop the villains and he begins a cautious romance with Mary.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”