15 June 2018 | boblipton
44-Minute Version Plays Beautifully
The copy I saw was severely cut. While it had a listed running time of 59 minutes, the print I viewed came in at less than 45. Nonetheless it was a hellacious good action B Western, starting off with Bob Steele riding shotgun on a stagecoach when four bandits show up. The coach tries to outrun it, and Bob takes a big dive and the coach is smashed. He makes his way to the headquarters of the Arizona Rangers, who have just been informed by telegraph that they are disbanded; turn over power to the local sheriff. However, his father is a ranger, so they decide they haven't gotten the telegram, go out and capture George Hayes (long befre he became Gabby), sing "Auld Lang Syne" while Bob canoodles with Gertrude Messinger, and off they go.
Some time later, Hayes escapes, kills the old Ranger captain and goes looking for his gold with his gang. So it's up to Bob and the former Rangers to deal with matters.
It's pure action fun once you get past the start and the second half is the pursuit and fight, pure and simple, shot by Archie Stout. He may be a B movie cinematographer at this point, but he has a lot of fun finding interesting shots, like close-up trucking shots while he whips the camera to follow the riders, or using a telephoto lens (?) to show a stuntman falling off in a vertically panning medium close-up. No wonder he wound up sharing an Oscar for one of Ford's westerns.
You may say it's long on action, yes, but short on Meaningful Story. True, but B Westerns are all about action, with some humor thrown in to please their youthful audience (provided here by Al. St. John). I'd like to see the original theatrical version, to see if it plays better or worse, but this version plays beautifully.