Gilbert Roland in King of the Bandits (1947)


(director/writer: Christy Cabanne; screenwriter: Gilbert Roland/Bennett Cohen/based on the O. Henry characters; cinematographer: William Sickner; editor: Roy Livingston; cast: Gilbert Roland (Cisco Kid), Angela Greene (Alice Mason), Chris-Pin Martin (Pancho), Anthony Warde (Smoke Kirby), Laura Treadwell (Mrs. Mason), William Bakewell (Captain Frank Mason), Pedro Gomez (Pat Goldin), Boyd Irwin (Colonel Wayne), Rory Mallinson (Henchman Burl), Cathy Carter (Connie, bar girl), Antonio Filauri (Padre); Runtime: 66; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Jeffrey Bernerd; VCI Entertainment; 1947)

“The last Cisco Kid film to star Gilbert Roland in the title role was enjoyable for what it was.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The last Cisco Kid film to star Gilbert Roland in the title role was enjoyable for what it was. He was easily the best of all the Cisco Kids. In this film he’s credited with ‘additional dialogue,’ as he wrote the poetry he spouted to his lady friends. Christy Cabanne (“Robin Hood of Monterey”/”The Outcasts of Poker Flat “/”The Dawn Trail”) directs and cowrites with Bennett Cohen; it’s based on O. Henry’s short story in 1904 titled The Caballero’s Way. There’s not much of a plot, as the joy is solely in the roguish characterization of Roland and his repartee with his engaging sidekick Pancho. He’s wonderfully played by Chris-Pin Martin.

Cisco and Pancho travel to Arizona, where lover boy Cisco plans to see a senorita. Their journey is interrupted by stopping an innocent man, Pedro Gomez (Pat Goldin), from being hanged by a lynch mob in what goes for frontier justice. They say he helped the Cisco Kid rob a stagecoach. As the three ride away, Cisco has to stop a runaway stagecoach with passengers Alice Mason (Angela Greene) and her mother Mrs. Mason (Mrs. Mason) still inside the coach. The heroic Cisco takes them to a mission to get medical help and woos Alice; when he finds she was robbed of her heirloom jewelry, he goes into town to retrieve it. In the El Rio saloon he discovers that it was Smoke Kirby (Anthony Warde) who robbed the stage and was posing as the Cisco Kid. He steals the jewelry from Smoke and returns to escort Alice and her mother to Fort Roberts, where Alice’s brother Frank (William Bakewell) is a captain. But Smoke tracks Cisco down on the trail and when Frank comes along with an army detail, he points out the Cisco Kid and tells him he has the jewels on him. Cisco and Pancho are arrested, but Pedro helps them escape (returning the favor). The Cisco Kid then brings Smoke to justice and clears his name, and says farewell to Alice as he heads back to New Mexico.