30 January 2006 | aimless-46
Melinda and Matilda Make It The Best of Elliott's Columbia Westerns
"The Return of Daniel Boone" is arguably the best of the Bill Elliott westerns. In 1941 Elliott (generally regarded as the original "Wild Bill Hickok") got to play both the grandson of Daniel Boone and the "Son of Davy Crockett. These Columbia features look very good for their time, in some ways better and more authentic that similar stuff made on higher budgets by other studios in the 1950's.
In this story Wild Bill Boone (Elliott) stumbles on a town with a scheming town boss Leach Kilgrain (Ray Bennett) and a crooked Mayor (Walter Soderling). They have raised taxes to levels most ranchers cannot pay and plan to acquire the properties at a bargain when they are sold for overdue taxes. Ellen Brandon (Betty Miles), the daughter of a local rancher, has accidentally killed the tax collector just before Bill's arrival. He accepts an offer to assume the now vacant position, believing it a good way to gather the evidence needed to expose the scheme.
Bill's plan is to mark some of the town's tax money and see if it is used to purchase land at the tax sale, thereby tying Kilgrain to the Mayor. Unfortunately Ellen thinks he is in league with the bad guys and her impulsive actions derail his plan. So things get a little more complicated before they finally get sorted out.
"The Return of Daniel Boone" transcends this rather ordinary plot by introducing a very original back-story involving Bill's long-time bumbling sidekick Cannonball Taylor (Dub Taylor). Cannonball is the strangely reluctant recipient of the attentions of identical twin sisters Melinda and Matilda (played by twin sisters Verda and Verna Rodik). This becomes even more comical because Cannonball thinks they are the same girl. Since the Rodik girls are arguably the hottest actresses you will ever find in this type of western (plus they do some nice singing), and Dub Taylor is anything but leading man material; his ability to resist their charms until almost the end seems highly unlikely.
Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.