Aces all around except for the rather tame climax. Credit producer Harry Sherman for the general superiority of the Hoppy matinees. Here, he pops for scenic Lone Pine locations, expertly filmed by Harry Stradling— hard to beat that desert-mountain-big rock combination. Hoppy and the boys are trying to find a lost gold mine before the baddies led by the sneaky Ace Gibson (Ankrum) do.
Note the movie's many extra touches—the well-staffed barroom, the busy street, the detailed shack interior. These show attention to background unusual for programmers. Also, catch that expensive line of gold-rushers heading for the mine, though the scene appears shot in the cost-saving LA area.
For me, the scariest part is when the oily Ace looks like he's getting romantic with the winsome heroine (Stewart). Now, in his stellar career, the lordly Ankrum defeated A-bomb mutants, aliens from outer space, commanded armies, advised presidents, and also made a convincing baddie. But for some reason, the thought of his snuggling up to the girl ran a shudder right through me.
Hard to say enough about Bill Boyd in his Hoppy role. He's easily the most charming and affable of the matinée heroes, but can also do the hard-eyed stare when necessary-- as he does here. He, Clyde, and Hayden make a winning team, as their amusing fireside byplay shows. Anyway, there's enough hard- riding, straight-shooting, and story interest to make this a generally superior Hoppy entry.
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