Night Stage to Galveston (1952)



(director: George Archainbaud; screenwriter: Norman S. Hall; cinematographer: William Bradford; editor: James Sweeney; music: Mischa Bakaleinikoff; cast: Gene Autry (Gene Autry), Pat Buttram (Pat Buttram), Virginia Huston (Ann Bellamy), Thurston Hall (Colonel James Bellamy), Judy Nugent (Cathy Evans), Robert Livingston (Adjutant General Slaydon), Clayton Moore (Clyde Chambers), Harry Lauter (Evans), Harry Cording (Ted Driscoll), Robert Bice (Captain Yancy); Runtime: 62; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Armand Schaefer; Columbia; 1952)
“Unbearable Gene Autry entry, even below his typical humdrum B-movies.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Unbearable Gene Autry entry, even below his typical humdrum B-movies. It’s filmed in black and white and with no singing from the singing cowboy. George Archainbaud (“Winning of the West”/”The Old West”/”Barbed Wire”) does his usual so-so job directing; the dull screenplay is by Norman S. Hall.

It’s set just following the Civil War in Texas and it’s up to ex-Texas Rangers Gene Autry and Pat Buttram to set things right, as venal State Police, under the command of sociopathic Adjutant General Slayden (Robert Livingston), are responsible for murders, thefts, blackmail, brutalities and corruption throughout the state after purging the Texas Rangers and taking complete control of law enforcement.

Corrupt State Policemen Ted Driscoll and Clyde Chambers kill rancher Evans while stealing his horses and leave his feisty young daughter Cathy (Judy Nugent) an orphan. Gene Autry happens to ride by and kills the escaping Driscoll, but the corrupt Galveston police, under the command of Captain Yancy (Robert Bice), issue a warrant to arrest Autry for the murder of a policeman. The now orphaned Cathy is taken to Ann Bellamy (Virginia Huston) and her crusading Reb loving editor father, Colonel James Bellamy (Thurston Hall), to be sheltered. Gene gathers the help of all the other disbanded ex-Rangers and they provide affidavits with a list of crimes a mile long the State Police committed. All too predictably things get resolved as easily as they were set in motion.

The action scenes were too few and the usual Autry fistfights were pathetic.