4 July 2010 | bkoganbing
Three years earlier than When A Man Rides Alone Gary Cooper played the Llano Kid in The Texan which sadly seems to be a lost film. Tom Tyler took over the role created by American short story writer O Henry where Tyler is a Robin Hood type bandit.
He's moved into the territory of sheriff Bob Burns who seems real reluctant to go after him. That's because Tyler is robbing only stagecoaches that are carrying the gold shipments from mine owner Al Bridge who Burns has characterized as a 'buzzard'. This was before the Code and after 1934 you couldn't get away with his attitude as a law enforcement officer.
Bridge who later became a member in good standing of Preston Sturges's unofficial stock company, is a Snidely Whiplash villain in the best tradition. After goading her father into a gunfight and killing him, Bridge starts looking on Adele Lacy with lascivious intent. Since Tyler is also interested in her, now he's got more than one reason to go after Bridge. The reason why he robs him in particular is the crux of the story which I won't give away.
Why both these guys are interested in Lacy is obvious and then again not so obvious. She's one of the most airheaded of western heroines I've ever seen. She's also a schoolmarm and entrusting the education of the young in her hands strikes me as bizarre.
Also for the life of me I can't figure out why Tyler made no effort to disguise himself during the robbery. Not even the traditional neckerchief mask over his face for Tyler.
When A Man Rides Alone is a Robin Hood type story set in the west, but Robin Hood has seen better adaptions.