(director: Lesley Selander; screenwriter: Norman Houston; cinematographer: J. Roy Hunt; editor: Paul Weatherwax; music: Paul Sawtell; cast: Tim Holt (Tim Holt), Richard Martin (Chito Rafferty), Joan Dixon (Emily Bryce), Clayton Moore (Dave Warwick), John Dehner (Bronson), Walter Reed (John Carver), Lane Bradford (Langdon), Denver Pyle (Allen), Dorothy Patrick (Roxie); Runtime: 60; MPAA Rating: NR; producer; Herman Schlom: RKO; 1952-B/W)
“A tired B-Western.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A tired B-Western, shot in black-and-white that’s poorly directed by the veteran western filmmaker Lesley Selander (“Fort Utah “/”War Party”) and poorly written by Norman Houston. It has a tired hero in Tim Holt, in the last film in the series which he began in the 1940 RKO film Wagon Train. The first feature for Holt to team with Richard Martin his sidekick “Chito Rafferty” was the 1947 picture Thunder Mountain. Martin is this obnoxious, stumbling lover boy, Irish-Mexican who is around for comic relief by acting dumb.
In the remote town of Lavic, Arizona, stagecoach operators Tim Holt and Chito Rafferty (Richard Martin) put up their bankrupt business for sale. Meanwhile oily bank embezzler John Carver (Walter Reed) is paroled from a Yuma prison and walks to Lavic to pick up his stolen bank money ($100,000) hidden in an abandoned boarding house. When jumped outside by his former prison cellmate Langdon (Lane Bradford) and his partner Allen (Denver Pyle), Carver escapes with his dough and a shoulder wound. Carver then for a thousand dollars in stolen money hires the stagecoach drivers to take him across the border to Mexico, and he hides the stolen loot in the stagecoach harness stuffing.
On the trail, Tim and Chito encounter the trailing Langdon and Allen, and make them keep their distance with their rifles. Also Emily (Joan Dixon), Holt’s girlfriend, whose banker father committed suicide after his teller stole the money, is on her way by buggy wagon to see the sheriff in the next town before her buggy breaks down and she joins Holt. Later Carver’s crooked lawyer Bronson (John Dehner) shows up at the house where the stage stops to rest. Also joining them is Carver’s unfaithful squeeze Roxie (Dorothy Patrick) and her gambler boyfriend Dave Warwick (Clayton Moore, a far cry from playing the Lone Ranger), hoping to steal Carver’s stolen money.
At times, the film makes no sense (like Emily’s buggy ride and Holt not knowing he was taking a crook across the border).
REVIEWED ON 12/2/2021 GRADE: C