16 June 2019 | MartinHafer
Boyd before he became Hoppy.
Up until 1935, William Boyd was a popular but minor movie star playing in a wide variety of films. However, in 1935 he played his first western as 'Hopalong Cassidy' and he soon became a big B-western star. "Men of America" is one of many westerns Boyd made before adopting the Hopalong Cassidy character as his own.
"Men of America" is a western set in the modern day....and isn't so much a western as a story set out in the rural west. Unknown to the small town of Paradise Valley, in the nearby canyon are a group of hardened criminals hiding out from the law. These robbers, however, are not particularly successful, as their last job only netted them thousand dollar bills (which would be impossible to spend without alerting the authorities) and they are becoming hungry. So, they begin robbing from the nearby townspeople--and everyone in town is wondering WHO is doing this. Eventually, their misdeeds result in a murder...and the dopey folks in town immediately assume Jim (Boyd) is behind it even though they've known him for years and have trusted him. Can Jim use common sense to get these folks to focus on finding the real source of the problems or is he going to be strung up by a lynch mob?
The film is never dull and is filled with interesting camerawork....something you don't expect from just a B-movie. What I also didn't expect was the unusually violent and graphic finale...very satisfying but shocking. Overall, a very well made B...one that might help change your mind about such quick and inexpensive movies.