Lightnin' Bill Carson (1936)

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Lightnin' Bill Carson (1936) Poster

A lawman captures the notorious "Pecos Kid", who is tried and hanged for his crimes--then starts to have doubts as to whether the Kid actually committed the crimes.


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24 February 2021 | MartinHafer
| Possibly McCoy's best.
The summary on IMDB actually doesn't address the first 20 minutes or so of "Lightnin' Bill Carson". When the story begins, Sheriff Bill Carson (Tim McCoy) has been keeping the town he works for safe and crime-free. One of the crooks he deals with there is the Pecos Kid, a professional gambler and card cheat. However, instead of arresting him, he kindly just tells him to keep moving....and the Kid appreciates it so much he decides to give up his wicked ways and he heads to San Jacinto*, Texas.

It's an interesting coincidence that the Kid goes to this town, as the people of San Jacinto have sent someone to Lightnin' Bill to ask him to become their new sheriff...though the guy is a crook and never asks Bill! However, the trail to some bandits also leads to San Jacinto and he heads to this town anyway. Before he arrives, some crooks rob the stage and kill the deputy....and pin it on the Pecos Kid! And, they do such a good job that the Kid think he actually DID kill the deputy!

After Lightnin' Bill captures the Kid and places him in jail, the same baddies who framed him help the Kid to that they'll have an excuse to kill him and keep him quiet. The current sheriff deputizes a posse and quickly finds the Kid...and instead of bringing him back to jail, they do a quickie trial and hang other words, it was a lynch mob. It's a shame, as in the meantime, Lightnin' Bill has discovered who's behind all this and he arrests him!

Now if this was just a typical B-movie, the film would end here as there's more than enough plot for a 50-65 minute film (which Bs were). But tiny Excelsior/Puritan Pictures pulled out the stops and the film is A-picture length at 75 minutes. This final portion consists of the Kid's brother exacting revenge on the lynch mob...something you certainly can understand! But what does Bill do about all this? See the film and find out for yourself.

This is a dandy Tim McCoy film...far longer and better than most. In total, he made 8-10 of these Lightnin' Bill Carson films and most were among his best movies. And, it's hard to imagine that it was made by an itty-bitty studio, as you'd expect much less than the movie delivers. Well worth seing.

*If you care, San Jacinto is just north of Houston, Texas.

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