14 May 2006 | horn-5
Jim Newill's Last Ride
"Brand of the Devil" was the 14th entry in PRC's "Texas Rangers" series, and is the last one Jim Newill appeared in before being replaced by Tex Ritter in the remaining films of this less-than-stellar B-western series, even measured by just B-western series standards. It is also the last time Dave O'Brien's role name was Tex Wyatt. When Tex Ritter joined the series, his role name became Tex Haines and (fellow-Texan) O'Brien became Dave Wyatt.
This time out, Texas Rangers Jim Steele (Jim Newill), Tex Wyatt (Dave O'Brien)and Panhandle Perkins (Guy Wilkerson), working undercover,are on the trail of Jack Varno (I. Stanford Jolley) and his cattle-rustling gang who have adopted the insignia of a devil's pitchfork, which has come to be known as "The Brand of the Devil." Varno and his gang---BUCKO LYNN (Charles King). GRIPPER JOE (Kermit Maynard) and Ed (John Cason)--- also don't hesitate to murder their rustling-and-robbery victims.
The Rangers track the gang to Varno's Gold Ace Saloon, where Panhandle, posing as "Fancy Brand" McGee, sells branding irons which he claims can not be changed. This gets the attention and confidence of Varno and his gang. DUKE CUTTER (Reed Howes), one of the gang, steals a valuable horse from Molly Dawson (Ellen Hall.) Molly follows Cutter to the saloon, a fight breaks out and Tex and Jim rescue Molly.
Molly's foreman Henry Wilburn (Budd Buster)is working for Varno. He masquerades as Molly and joins Varno's men in a cattle-stealing raid on Jeff Palin's (Karl Hackett) ranch, and Palin tells Sheriff Parker (Edward Cassidy)Molly was the leader. Molly is jailed but Tex and Jim trail the rustlers and capture Wilburn, still wearing Molly's clothes (and not a pretty sight.) Wilburn takes her place in jail.
The more the Rangers learn about Varno, the more he learns about them and there is a bunch of swapping upper-hand activity before the final shootout in the saloon.
Cousins Arthur Alexander,credited Producer on this one and Alfred Stern, CREDITED Associate Producer here, swapped the Producer and Associate Producer credits back and forth with each other (on every other entry) but the primary faults with most of the films in this series can be laid firmly at the door of the Alexander-Stern Productions, no matter which one took which credit. Jim Newill sings "Goodbye Old Paint" and the always-great "When the Work's All Done This Fall" in his farewell to the Texas Rangers series.