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BROTHERS IN THE SADDLE (director: Lesley Selander; screenwriter: Norman Houston; cinematographer: J. Roy Hunt; editor: Samuel E. Beetley; music: Paul Sawtell; cast: Tim Holt (Tim Taylor), Richard Martin (Chito Rafferty), Steve Brodie (Steve Taylor), Virginia Cox (Nancy Austin), Francis McDonald (Hoyt Parker), Emmett Vogan (Judge Coldert), Richard Powers (Nash Prescott), Carol Forman (Flora Trigby), Robert Bray (Poke Lynch), Stanley Andrews (Sheriff Oakley); Runtime: 60; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Herman Schlom; RKO; 1949)
“Never amounts to beans despite an odd twist at the climactic gun duel between brothers.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Lesley Selander (“Guns of Hate”/”The Rustlers”/”Rider from Tucson”) efficiently helms from Norman Houston’s workmanlike screenplay this taut Cain and Abel B-Western that never amounts to beans despite an odd twist at the climactic gun duel between brothers.

Arizona woman ranch owner Nancy Austin (Virginia Cox) is disappointed that her fianc√© ranch hand Steve Taylor (Steve Brodie) is not there to meet her after returning from a pre-wedding shopping trip to Tuscon. Steve’s older brother Tim (Tim Holt), the ranch foreman, and his loyal partner Chito Rafferty (Richard Martin), go to town and Tim finds his loser gambler brother losing the $600 he borrowed from Nancy in a crooked saloon card game. Still not learning his lesson, Steve borrows more money from the gullible Nancy under a businesss pretext and goes back to the same Lordsburg saloon, but this time when he loses to crooked saloon owner Nash Prescott (Richard Powers) and his partner Hoyt Parker, he accuses Parker of drawing from the bottom of the deck. Parker is killed by Steve, who outdraws him in self-defense. Steve’s main witness is saloon girl Flora Trigby (Carol Forman ), but she splits town when bought off and threatened by Prescott. Steve becomes a wanted man for murder and hides out in the hills in a spot only his brother and Chito know. Steve persuades his brother to turn himself in to Sheriff Oakley and take his chances with a fair trial. But at the trial the threatened and bought off Flora is a no show and Steve is convicted and sentenced to hang. The guilt-ridden Tim helps Steve escape from jail, and promises to cross the border into Mexico to bring back Flora to be his witness. But Steve doesn’t wait in the hills for his brother’s help, instead robs a Bisbee stage and in cold-blood kills Prescott who was a passenger.

It leads to Tim going into the hills after his sneering outlaw brother who has wounded Tim and Chito, and kidnapped Nancy–who has finally caught on that the manipulative Steve is a good for nothing crook and refuses to go East with him.

REVIEWED ON 11/12/2007 GRADE: C+

Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”