STAGE TO CHINO
(director: Edward Killy;screenwriter: story by Norton S. Parker/Arthur V. Jones/Morton Grant; cinematographer: J. Roy Hunt; editor: Frederic Knudston; music: Paul Sawtell; cast: George O’Brien (Dan Clark), Virginia Vale (Caroline McKay,), Roy Barcroft (Dude Elliott), Carl Stockdale (Charlie Lait), William Haade (Slim), Ethan Laidlaw (Wheeler), Hobart Cavanaugh (J. Horatius Boggs), Glenn Strange (Bill Hoagland), Martin Garralaga (Pedro), Tom London (Dolan); Runtime: 58; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Bert Gilroy; RKO; 1940-B/W)
“George O’Brien and Virginia Vale made six films together for RKO, with this being their last and best.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
George O’Brien and Virginia Vale made six films together for RKO, with this being their last and best. Director Edward Killy (“West of the Pecos”) keeps things in the B western formulaic mode, with your required barroom brawl and stagecoach hold-up getting special attention. Writers Arthur V. Jones & Morton Grant adapt it from the story by Norton S. Parker.In the Arizona Territory, in the town of Chino, the attractive young Caroline McKay (Virginia Vale) inherits a stagecoach line from her deceased father and returns from back east to run it. Running it in the meantime is her Uncle Charlie (Carl Stockdale), who she doesn’t know is working for slimy stagecoach rival Dude Elliott (Roy Barcroft) to put her out of business. The plot revolves around these two rivals competing for a lucrative U.S. mail contract.
Dan Clark (George O’Brien) comes to Chino from Prescott as an undercover postal inspector, investigating why the mail won’t get through. When he stops a stage robbery for McKay, she hires him as her driver and a cautious romance develops. Hobart Cavanaugh is the meek traveling salesman who befriends Dan and helps him get the goods on Elliott and his gang that sends them to prison.
REVIEWED ON 7/13/2019 GRADE: B-