17 May 2008 | JohnHowardReid
Almost Top of the Class, But Not Quite!
A pleasant enough western, though there is just sufficient action footage including some excellent stunt-work -- to get by with the fans. Oddly, there's also less music than usual. Most of the picture is taken up with the plot (a serviceable offering) and the machinations of personable villain J.P. McGowan. Even Smiley Burnette's opportunities are limited, though he does have a bill-posting run-in with Charles King (in the comparatively minor role of the villain's offsider's offsider) a routine that was later used to greater advantage by Laurel and Hardy in "Air Raid Wardens" and a splendid fade-out.
Dorothy Dix proves an innocuous heroine, but Tom London makes his villain a fascinating figure, whilst Earle Hodgins blusters away effectively as Professor Parker (we like his amusing encounter with Harrison Greene's fake veterinarian). Good old Jack Rockwell graces his customary role as the sheriff.
Kane's direction rates as efficient. Not his fault that a bit more gun-slinging and a lot more guitar-strumming was really needed to lift this western to top of the class. Photography and music scoring climb well up to standard. Production values nudge the excellent level, thanks to actual location shooting and plenty of extras milling about.