RANDY RIDES ALONE
(director: Harry Fraser; screenwriter: Lindsley Parsons; cinematographer: Archie Stout; editor: Carl Pierson; cast: John Wayne (Randy Bowers), Alberta Vaughn (Sally Rogers), George “Gabby Hayes” Hayes (Marvin Black/Matt the Mute), Earl Dwire (Sheriff), Yakima Canutt (Spike); Runtime: 53; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Paul Malvern; Monogram/Lone Star Productions; 1934)
“As harrowing an opening as ever in such a B-Western.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
This Lone Star release offers as harrowing an opening as ever in such a B-Western, as Randy Bowers (John Wayne) rides into the deserted town of Peyote Pass and enters the Half House saloon to find the bar strewn with many dead bodies and a mechanical player piano playing. There’s also a portrait of Ulysses S. Grant with eyes moving. As Randy tries to comprehend the massacre, the sheriff and his posse enter the saloon and arrest him as an obvious gang member. The bar owner’s niece, Sally Rogers (Alberta Vaughn), was hiding behind the portrait, and before she leaves she makes sure the cash hidden in a box in the floor’s trap door was not touched. At the jail, she talks with Randy and he shows her a letter that he’s an undercover agent her uncle, Ed Rogers, sent for to investigate a gang responsible for trying to take over the town. Randy also tells Sally he didn’t tell the sheriff, because he prefers to work alone. Sally gives Randy the key and he escapes, and when followed by the posse loses them as he accidentally discovers by a waterfall the gang’s cave hideout. The gang leader is a wanted desperado named Marvin Black (George “Gabby Hayes” Hayes), who in his day job poses as a meek, hunchbacked, mute shopkeeper known as Matt the Mute. Matt’s plan is to buy the saloon with the money he stole from Rogers and completely control the town. Randy talks his way into staying with the gang in their hideout and schemes to bring them to justice.
In the film’s routine part, Randy uses the gang’s dynamite against them as their leader goes back to the saloon to steal the hidden money.
Wayne in one scene sings a country song, with his voice being dubbed by Smith Ballew. Also noteworthy, is the fine stunt work coordinated by Yakima Canutt. He also has a part as a henchman in the gang.
Harry Fraser helms in a crisp fashion, while Lindsley Parsons provides the satisfactory script for this above average B-Western.
REVIEWED ON 5/27/2005 GRADE: B