5 March 2013 | MartinHafer
The acting is often terrible and the plot is recycled...'nuff said.
Chezzez la femme! some bad acting--particularly by supporting actors Bob's uncle wants him to become Marshall--wants to see world first but then uncle killed.
familiar--Bob poses as baddie and Hoot is good guy Veda Van Borg--terrible accents Monogram Studios was a low-budget so-called 'Poverty Row' outfit. However, among all these independent companies producing B movies, Monogram was actually one of the better ones and made some decent films. Even their lesser films had a sort of professional look that many other Poverty Row studios would never match. So, it's surprising that "Marked Trails" is such a bad film. Even a lower-status B from Monogram should have been better than this one--with MUCH better acting! Clearly, this was among the poorest westerns produced by Monogram--and much of it might be because Bob Steele and Hoot Gibson were well past their prime and were no longer bankable stars.
The film begins with Bob's uncle encouraging him to become a US Marshall. However, Bob wants to see the world and worry about a life in law enforcement sometime in the future. But, when only moments later the uncle is murdered, Bob accepts the job and takes another Marshall (Hoot) with him to investigate. Like practically EVERY team cowboy western of the era (such as in Three Mesquiteer and Rough Rider films), one of them (Bob) poses as a bad guy and the other as a good one (Hoot).
"Marked Trails" is at times decent but never particularly inspired or interesting. And, at other times it's pretty bad. Part of it is mentioned above--the plot is VERY familiar. Most of it is because aside from Steele and Gibson, the rest of the actors could barely act--delivering their lines almost robot-like at times. Some of these 'actors' were downright embarrassing--it was THAT bad. In fact, I would say that this is probably the worst Monogram and worst Steele or Gibson film I have seen. It's a shame, but it barely limps along and is only for the most die-hard fan of the genre.