Joan Dixon, Tim Holt, and Richard Martin in Law of the Badlands (1951)


(director: Lesley Selander; screenwriter: Ed Earl Repp; cinematographer: George Diskant; editor: Desmond Marquette; music: Paul Sawtell; cast: Tim Holt (Dave), Richard Martin (Chito Rafferty), Joan Dixon (Velvet), Robert Livingston (Durkin), Leonard Penn (Cash Carlton), Harry Woods (Burt Conroy, Blacksmith/Secret Service Agent), Larry Johns (Lafe Simms, Liverman/Countrefeiter), Robert Bray (Henchman Benson), Kenneth MacDonald (Captain McVey, Texas Rangers), John Cliff (Madigan); Runtime: 60; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Herman Schlom; RKO; 1951)
“Its story was so worn and familiar, that it seemed like the actors were just going through the motions.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Routine shoot-em up B-Western directed by Lesley Selander (“Gunplay”/”Indian Agent”/”Masked Raiders”) and written by Ed Earl Repp. In 1890, the Secretary of the Treasury in Washington requests the help of the Texas Rangers to crack a counterfeit ring working in the Badlands of Texas. At the Rangers’ headquarters in Willcox, Texas, Captain McVey (Kenneth MacDonald) assigns Dave (Tim Holt) and Chito (Richard Martin) to go undercover and hook up with an undisclosed undercover secret service agent. The Rangers pose as wanted outlaws, and rob the Durkin gang that holds up the stage. This gets them into contact with Cash Carlton (Leonard Penn), a saloon owner who is a fence for the leader of the ring–the one with the printing press. Things get shaky when ditsy saloon singer Velvet (Joan Dixon) shows up and gives away to the gang that Chito is her boyfriend and is a Texas Ranger.

The film had no charm, the comic relief offered by Richard Martin was too corny even for this cornball hayseed ride; its story was so worn and familiar, that it seemed like the actors were just going through the motions.