Hoot Gibson, Jack La Rue, Ken Maynard, and Betty Miles in The Law Rides Again (1943)


(director: Alan James; screenwriter: Frances Kavanaugh; cinematographer: Marcel LePicard; editor: Carl Pierson; music: Frank Sanucci; cast: Ken Maynard (Ken Maynard, marshal), Hoot Gibson (Hoot Gibson, marshal), Jack LaRue (Duke Dillon), Chief Thundercloud (Chief Thundercloud), Emmett Lynn (Eagle Eye), Chief Many Treaties (Barking Fox), Fred Hoose (Hank, stage driver), John Merton (Spike, henchman), Bryant Washburn (Commissioner Lee), Charles Murray Jr. (Marshal), Kenneth Harlan (John Hampton), Betty Miles (Betty Conway), John Bridges (Jess, henchman), Hank Bell (Sheriff); Runtime: 58; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Robert Tansey; Monogram; 1943)
“the low-budget B western is really done in because it has poor production values, poor acting and a lousy familiar story.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

This is the second version of Monogram’s Trail Blazer series, with two more to follow. Alan James (“Trigger Smith”/”Red Barry”/”Two Gun Justice”) directs without gusto, as if Frances Kavanaugh’s screenplay could be saved from mediocrity by a lack of enthusiasm. Its once popular aging star lawmen Ken Maynard and Hoot Gibson are too lethargic to be crowd pleasing. But the low-budget B western is really done in because it has poor production values, poor acting and a lousy familiar story.

There are a number of Indian raids in the Preston, Arizona area. Thereby convicted killer Duke Dillon (Jack La Rue) is released from jail and used by special government marshals Ken Maynard and Hoot Gibson, after promised clemency, to set a trap on his friend the crooked Indian agent John Hampton (Ken Harlan), who is suspected of inciting the Indians to revolt.

With info from Duke that the Indians will attack the stage, Ken and Hoot ride behind and the marshal (Charles Murray Jr.) rides in the stage. The Indians attack, but during the attack Duke double-crosses them and kills the marshal and the stagecoach driver, and flees. Passenger Betty Conway (Betty Miles), visiting her cavalry captain boyfriend, drives the stage to safety in Preston, escorted by Ken and Hoot. After Duke double-crossed them, Ken and Hoot are arrested by the sheriff (Hank Bell) for killing the marshal. But they escape to clear their name. The incompetent marshals again hook up with the unreliable Duke, and go with him to Preston to get evidence on the crooked Indian agent.

After learning the Indian agent is cheating the Indians of their government contracted cattle with the unwitting help of a tribe elder, Barking Fox (Chief Many Treaties), things get dicey. The marshals break into the Indian agent’s office to get the receipts with the government sales as proof he’s stealing cattle. The scout Eagle Eye (Emmett Lynn) arranges for Chief Thundercloud to meet with the escaped marshals and learn of the receipts showing the Indians should be getting more cattle. Before Hampton can escape with all the money he stole from the government, Duke plugs his partner for cheating him out of the profits and flees with the dough. But with the marshals and both the Indians and the cavalry chasing him down, Duke doesn’t have a prayer of escaping.