It's a Depression time in the old west just as it was for the movie going public when Trail Dust came out in 1936. The price of beef cattle is sky high and a greedy rancher played by Morris Ankrum wants to keep the price high. So he looks askance when a relief committee seeks to buy cattle for relief purposes, including the herd from the Bar 20 Ranch where Hopalong Cassidy is the foreman.
Hoppy and the gang have to drive the herd to the railroad terminal to be paid. Ankrum's one ruthless dude however. He joins the trail drive under an alias and continues any number of nefarious schemes to prevent Hoppy's herd from arriving.
Of course Bill Boyd, Jimmy Ellison and Gabby Hayes are up to the challenge. Trail Dust is a bit unusual in that Hoppy is for once dealing with a plot that involves his chosen profession, ranch foreman. Most of the Cassidy features involve him getting in all kinds of circumstances that have nothing to do with being foreman of the Bar 20. Perhaps this one sticks to the trail because it is taken directly from one of Clarence Mulford's novels.
The plot involving a depression and relief certainly struck the right note with a 1936 movie audience. Trail Dust holds up fairly well today for B western film of the time.
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