I'll never get over how more than a few of these B Westerns from the Thirties and Forties employed just the goofiest of elements as part of the story line. Case in point - when one of Landreau's (Jack O'Shea) henchmen inadvertently opens Fuzzy Jones' (Fuzzy St. John) jail cell door while freeing his fellow outlaws Cherokee (Frank Ellis) and Tug (Al Ferguson), he decks Fuzzy and makes off with his buddies. When the sheriff (Bud Osborne) and Billy (Buster Crabbe) return, they see a groggy Fuzzy looking like he knocked out the deputy, so the sheriff hustles him back to jail. But when he sees the outlaws missing, he just leaves Fuzzy standing there and heads out with Billy again. Fuzzy decides he'll just go back in the jail cell and close the door. Now what writer thought that was a credible idea, I'd just like to know.
Oh well. this isn't the only time something totally incomprehensible showed up in a B oater. I run across them all the time. But here's another head scratcher from the same picture. At one point, the sheriff and Billy Carson discuss the 'hoodoo' on the Barkley ranch, with Billy stating he was going to 'break that hoodoo'. I guess modern day viewers are supposed to know that hoodoo is another name for bad luck, but I wouldn't have known unless I looked it up. At least the flick was educational.
Well it's one of those same old stories - bad guy Landreau wants the Barkley Ranch and is about to foreclose on the mortgage when Jeff Barkley (Slim Whitaker) comes into some cash and is about to pay off the note. He's killed while riding into town by Landreau's henchmen and the murder is pinned on Fuzzy. Fuzzy just couldn't catch a break in this picture. Back in town, Jean Barkley (Patti McCarthy) visits Landreau with an offer to sell the ranch now that her father is dead. Now here'a another one of those nonsensical details again - Landreau pulls a piece of paper out of his desk drawer, calls it a quit claim deed, and asks her to sign it. Just like that! No terms, no selling price, no witnesses - just sign the paper!
If you get the idea these things bother me, forget it. When it comes to B Westerns, I can watch this stuff all day long, as long as you rotate the players. Buster Crabbe makes for a resolute good guy who doesn't take himself too seriously as he figures out all the angles and brings the baddies to justice. The kicker for this film was hearing the name of the Barkley Ranch, a few decades before Barbara Stanwyck rode into the Big Valley to call it her own.
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