27 January 2008 | Chance2000esl
Dull, Routine, and Not Worth it
A good Western film is built around the Good Guy- Bad Guy conflict and their eventual Showdown. Here, that showdown is there, but it's not the major focus of the film.
It's mainly about how we must fight against Indians. Gene and his Texas Rangers know about Indians; the cavalry does not. ("Make your peace sign with one hand, and keep a gun in the other.") We get that awful 'Tarzan talk' in the way the White Man speaks to the Indians. We get the cliché (it was used in John Ford's 'The Iron Horse' in 1924!) of a white man masquerading as a warlike Indian -- except this time he's a saloon owner.
There is the throwaway of a love interest (surprisingly, Gene marries her and rides off into the off screen). There is Republic's 'comic relief' of Smiley Burnette and Mex Terhune (he is actually good in this film!); and the dreadful running gag of Chief Thundercloud, who was so evil in the serial 'Custer's Last Stand' (1934), trying to scalp Frog Millhouse; but there's really nothing of substance going on in this picture. It seems too have been made from the "let's crank out another one" mode as part of the new Republic formula of cheapie B pictures.
There are much better Gene Autry films that seem more authentic, such as 'Yodelin' Kid From Pine Ridge' (1937) than this third rate formulaic cranked out film. Gene is genial, but overall this movie is worth only a 3.