4 April 2021 | MartinHafer
Did Bruce REALLY kill Jenkins?! But isn't he the hero?
The quality difference between "Valley of the Lawless" by tiny Supreme Pictures and Johnny Mack Brown's later films with Universal as well as Republic is pretty obvious. This earlier and much more cheaply made movie lacks the music and polish over his later films. The script also is a bit rough. Still, regardless, Johnny Mack Brown is terrific in the lead.
When the film begins, Bruce (Brown) confronts Grandpaw Jenkins (Gabby Hayes), as the old man stole a treasure map and killed Bruce's family long ago. Soon, however, Jenkins and another man are killed and it sure looks as if Bruce did it and the law is after him. So, Bruce runs off the the Valley of the Lawless (really...the film called it this...I'm not making this up).
Soon, some settlers arrive and Bruce is very kind and helpful towards them. However, when the father is killed AND the pretty daughter learns that Bruce supposedly killed her grandfather, Grandpaw Jenkins, she's aghast. What does this make Bruce? A killer who is only trying to win her over or what?!
This film is mildly interesting. However, it has a couple script problems. One, it often needed long expositions and flashbacks to explain away what you think you've seen...like a movie serial. It also has folks going from trying to arrest Bruce or despising him to almost instantly loving and admiring him...and it's way too quick to be realistic. Very watchable but also very rough when it comes to the convoluted plot.
By the way, late in the film you see Bruce fly off his horse. This is one of the sloppiest stunts I've ever seen and I assume it was lifted from another movie. When he flips, you see a guy in a black shirt...and when Johnny Mack Brown lands and gets up, he's wearing a white shirt!!