(LOST STAGE VALLEY) (director: Ralph Murphy; screenwriters: Bob Williams, Frank Butt, Robert Libott, based on a novel by Frank Bonham; cinematographer: Charles Lawton Jr.; editor: Charles Nelson; music: Paul Sawtell; cast: Rod Cameron (Grif Holbrook), Wayne Morris (Barney Broderick), Kay Buckley (Kate Crocker), Sally Eilers(Annie Benson), Harry Bellaver (Gus Heyden), Carl Benton Reid (“Doc” Benteen ), Roy Roberts (Jim Maroon), Douglas Fowley ( Ira Prentiss), John Pickard (Sam Granger), Olin Howlin (Chantry), Charles Evans (John Butterfield), Boyd Stockman (Juan Lopez), John Sheehan (Bartender), Reed Howes (Eddie), James Kirkwood (Sheriff Pete Deuce); Runtime: 81; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Harry Joe Brown; Columbia; 1950)

Offers Western fans the usual thrills.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Offers Western fans the usual thrills despite its odd premise that the Confederacy is stealing Arizona stagecoaches to stop the Union’s supply lines. It’s adequately directed by Ralph Murphy (“The Lady and the Bandit”/”Mickey”). Writers Bob Williams, Frank Butt and Robert Libott base it on a novel by Frank Bonham.

In Tucson, just before the onset of the Civil War, the Butterfield line has a number of its stagecoaches stolen. The line that runs from California to St. Louis is deemed important for the Union shipping gold. Rod Cameron is asked by Butterfield to rejoin the line as head of the Tucson division, and to put a stop to the thefts. On orders from Butterfield, Cameron replaces the manager of Apache Pass, Kay Buckley, with someone chosen by the boss. But instead of replacing her, he makes her a bookkeeper in the Tucson office. The middle-aged Cameron then becomes a friendly rival with his younger driver, Wayne Morris, for Kay. We learn the thieves are led by a career criminal, Roy Roberts, who in a money-grabbing scheme exploits the Confederacy’s cause to get volunteers to use an armor-plated stagecoach to hijack the coaches. The romantic part gets complicated when Cameron’s old flame, Sally Eilers, is the saloon keeper in town who still desires Cameron but has a few secrets. It all predictably gets worked out with a few good action sequences while the lush location photography by Lawton makes it easy to watch.

REVIEWED ON 10/11/2018 GRADE: B-

Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”