Richard Martin made a career out of the character, Chito Jose Gonzalez Bustamonte Rafferty. Cracking jokes about his Irish-Mexican heritage in a very dated accent, and busting out his guitar in every movie, he's one of the most recognizable western sidekicks in the business. You've got thirty chances to catch his character, including 1945's West of the Pecos.
In this silly, humorous, escapism movie, Barbara Hale's father, Thurston Hall, has to get more exercise into his daily routine for his health. The family decides to pick up and move from Chicago to their ranch in Texas-but since it's the 1880s, the wild west is dangerous. In order to protect herself, and her French companion Rita Corday, Barbara dresses like a boy. But when she meets hunky Robert Mitchum on the road, maybe she'll want to trade in her trousers for a dress. . .
I actually really liked West of the Pecos, even though it's just a silly western. Barbara Hale does a great job in her dual-personality and getting in touch with her masculine side, and Thurston Hall is a wonderful Frank Morgan knockoff. Of course, my loyalties lie with Robert Mitchum, which is why I first rented this early movie. He's so incredibly adorable in this movie, treating Barbara like a kid brother as they travel together in the desert. At nighttime, she's expected to bunk up with him to conserve body heat, and he holds open the blanket: "Get in! Cuddle!" Seriously, how darling is that?
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