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TRIGGER MEN (Billy the Kid’s Fighting Pals)(director: Sam Newfield; screenwriter: George Plympton; cinematographer: John H. Greenhalgh, Jr.; editor: Holbrook Todd; music: David Chudnow; cast: Bob Steele (Billy the Kid), Al St. John (Fuzzy), Phyllis Adair (Ann Hardy), Carleton Young (Jeff), Charles King (Badger, Hardy Henchman), Curley Dresden (Burke, Hardy Henchman), Edward Peil Sr. (Hardy, the Banker), Hal Price (Burrows, the Storekeeper), Forrest Taylor (Cafe Owner Hanson), George Chesebro (Sheriff), Budd Buster (Newspaper Editor Mason), Julian Rivero (Bartender Lopez); Runtime: 59; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Sigmund Neufeld; Producers Releasing Corporation; 1941)
“A silly western that has Billy the Kid (Bob Steele) become the hero.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A silly western that has Billy the Kid (Bob Steele) play the good guy hero. It’s directed in a muddled fashion by Sam Newfield and is based on a screenplay by George Plympton.

Billy the Kid and his two pals, Jeff (Carleton Young) and Fuzzy (Al St. John), arrive at the outskirts of Paradise and Billy ignores Jeff’s advice about staying here saying this looks like a nice peaceful town where he can hide from the law. Soon as Billy says that a shot is fired and a marshal is shot nearby. Before he dies, he tells them to deliver a letter to his brother, the newspaper editor Mason. When the trio arrives in town, Fuzzy is wearing the marshal’s badge and in a case of mistaken identity is thought to be the marshal that was sent for by the “secret committee.” They are a citizen’s organization of shopkeepers set up to bring law-and-order to a town without a sheriff and are faced with bad guy Badger (Charles King) running honest citizens out of town and rustling the rancher’s herds. The mastermind behind the gang is the banker Hardy (Edward Peil Sr.), who is in the process of completing work on a secret tunnel under the town that goes to Mexico. Hardy is running a lucrative smuggling operation and wants to control everything in town so his smuggling operation can go on unimpeded, and uses Badger to harass the locals while he buys their property or businesses dirt cheap.

Hardy has a ward living with him, the not so innocent pretty girl Ann Hardy (Phyllis Adair). She helps the banker out, but changes her mind when she learns she’s opposing Billy the Kid. Sure enough, pardner, Billy and the boys sort-out things and use their fists and six-shooters to bring down the gang and use their wits to prevent Billy from being arrested by the sheriff from the next town. When Mason is killed, the boys take over the newspaper and get off their vulgar Sambo joke as Fuzzy gets printers ink over his face and is mistaken for a Negro.

The film comes with many names; two that I haven’t listed are Billy the Kid Trails West and Trigger Pals.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”