(director/writer: Elliott Nugent; screenwriters: Max Brand novel “South of the Rio Grande”/Gene Fowler/Al Levitt; cinematographer: Jose Ortiz Ramos; editor: George Crome; music: Manuel Esperon; cast: Mickey Rooney (J. Dennis ‘Denny’ O’Moore), Wanda Hendrix (Senorita Carmelita Alvarado), Robert Preston (Joe Walter), Robert Stack (Patrick O’Moore), Jose Torvay (Enrique Ortiz), Carlos Muzquiz/El Capitan (Col. Sanchez), Fernando Wagner (Burger), Hilda Moreno (Senora Alvarado); Runtime: 82; MPAA Rating:NR; producer: Benedict Bogeaus; Eagle-Lion; 1951)
Dreadful western.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Dreadful western, shot in Mexico and in black and white. Director Elliott Nugent (“She Loves Me Not”/”Never Say Die”/”My Favorite Brunette”) shows no flare for westerns and keeps this mediocre moderately-budgeted one pointed south-of-the-border. All the stars are miscast, showing no acting skills for the western genre. It’s based on the novel South of the Rio Grande by Max Brand and is written by Gene Fowler and Al Levitt.

Denny O’Moore (Mickey Rooney) journeys from Manhattan to a Texas border town, Border City, where he wishes to surprise his estranged older brother Patrick (Robert Stack). The brother regularly sends money home to the family for the last 8 years and claims to be running a silver mine. The feisty tenderfoot hooks up with Texas Ranger Joe Walter (Robert Preston), who is on the trail of a ruthless robber and killer Mexican gang that strike in Texas and then quickly flee back to their Mexican safe-haven–the stronghold town of San Clemente. Denny is surprised to find his brother is the gang leader, and that leads to a few pathetic action sequences and eventually to the big surprise (as if no one could figure it out) that Patrick is not the right hand man of the notorious outlaw called “El Tigre,” but is actually the wanted criminal himself.

Describing this clunker as a routine western would give it more props than it deserves.