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  • As the name implies, 1945's "The Return of the Durango Kid" marks the second appearance of Charles Starrett as a wandering cowboy whose alter ego is known as "The Durango Kid" (also the title of his first film appearance in 1940). Thus begins what at the time must have seemed an endless series of Durango Kid films lasting into the early 50's. It was a confusing concept because Starrett's non-Durango character always goes by a different name, usually Steve "Something" but here it is Bill Blaydon.

    Blaydon comes to a small town in 1875 Texas in a quest to clear his dead father's name. His father was the first Durango Kid although none of this stuff seems to tie into the 1940 story. It turns out that saloon owner Lee Kirby (John Calvert) is the one who framed Bill's father, and his gang is now regularly robbing the stage line. The woman who holds the stage line franchise is "Buckskin" Liz Bancroft (played by perennial B-movie prison matron Betty Roadman). She is in danger of losing the line if the hold-ups continue.

    Bill's love interest is provided by the standard" saloon girl with a heart-of-gold", Paradise Flo (Jean Stevens) who is kinda purdy.

    Because Bill (dressed in a light colored shirt and white hat) is a fair hand with a gun and the gang does not know he is the Kid (who dresses in a black shirt and hat), he is able to bluff them into leaving town by convincing them both gunfighters oppose them.

    1945 was the heart of the singing cowboy era; apparently Starrett could not carry a tune because the singing is provided by a group of cowboys called "The Jesters", a knock off of "The Sons of the Pioneers". Some of their song lyrics are funny and these moments of comic relief are inserted in the film at completely inappropriate times, giving it all a surreal quality.

    This was a pretty expensive and elaborate effort for a Columbia western and is better than you might expect. The gunfights are rather weak but otherwise Starrett makes a good western hero.

    Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.
  • I liked this movie. I have always thought that Charles Starrett was a very handsome man and a good actor. Tex Harding on the other hand is rather wooden, but he has a beautiful singing voice. However, it is not his voice at all but the voice of my father, James T. "Bud" Nelson, (whose credits can be found on this web site). This is a little known fact but my father sang for Tex Harding in all the Durango Kid movies. When I was 7 years old my father took me to the set of the Durango Kid movies and I met Tex Harding (John Thye)and he gave me an autographed picture.I always knew that my father sang in the movies but I didn't know who he sang for until I started doing some research in 2003 and realized that the man I met when I was 7 years old was the man that my father sang for. Sadly, my father passed away in 1994 and my mother in 2000 so I was not able to ask them questions about how all this came about and if my father sang in any other movies. I would recommend the Durango Kid movies that Tex Harding was in to anyone who would like to hear a smooth baritone voice. Close your eyes and listen.
  • In "The Return of the Durango Kid," the handsome and athletic Charles Starrett plays two characters set in 1875 Silver City, Texas: that of the son of a murdered rancher seeking to clear his name and that of the mysterious masked West Texas gunman who bends the law but is always on its right side. The outcome is never in doubt.

    The writing is formula but it has a few twists and turns to keep the viewer's interest. The loot is cleverly hidden, keeps changing hands, and there is an innovative exploding strong box to contend with. Starrett is good in the leading role and Jean Stevens is nice to look at and does a credible job of the forward bad girl Paradise Flo who falls for the hero (she returns in a different role in "Frontier Gunlaw"). John Calvert is an excellent villain. Tex Harding is the side-kick Jim and he appears in a number of follow-on Durango Kid films in various roles. There are just enough musical numbers by "The Jesters" to annoy but the words to some of those songs are a real hoot, e.g. "He Holds the Lantern While his Mother Cuts the Wood." The Return of the Durango Kid is the first real follow-on to the popular 1940 "Durango Kid". Columbia's 1944 "Sagebrush Heroes" has him playing a radio actor play that only plays the "Durango Kid" on the air. In "The Return of the Durango Kid," Starrett's name is Bill Blaydon but in all other films, his name is different. Starrett rides off into the West at the end of this film remarking that there is some trouble elsewhere – making it clear to his audience that he would return. The series was so popular that it lasted until 1952 with a total of over sixty entries.
  • The Return of the Durango Kid (1945)

    ** 1/2 (out of 4)

    Bill Blayden (Charles Starrett) travels to a small town to clear his father of a crime he didn't commit. Once there he realizes that the stagecoaches are being robbed at every turn and that the man behind it (John Calvert) might have also had something to do with his father's ordeal. THE RETURN OF THE DURANGO KID isn't really a sequel to the 1940 film that also had Starrett because nothing matches up in regards to the story. This here was the starting point for sixty-plus more films in the Columbia series and this here gets it off to a good running start. The thing with these "B" Westerns is that you're either going to get them and enjoy them for their cheap, unoriginal quality or you're going to see them as trash that is nothing but the same story repeating itself. I found this here to be fairly entertaining thanks in large part to the performance of Starrett. Now, I'm not going to sit here and say this guy rivaled John Barrymore but an actual "performance" isn't the key to one of these Westerns. The viewer needs someone he likes and someone strong enough to carry you through the story and the actor does just that. I also thought Calvert was good as the bad guy and Jean Stevens as the love interest with the clever name of Paradise Flo. The film manages to have some good chases, several gunfights and overall good feel to carry the 58-minute running time.
  • Back in 1940 Charles Starrett first starred as the Durango Kid. It took five years for him to repeat the role, but Harry Cohn must have seen something he liked because Charles Starrett was brought back to star in several more Durango Kid films for Columbia from 1945 to 1952 when the B western cowboys were moved to television.

    Durango always had a different Clark Kent name and profession. But in his Durango mode he wore a black horse with a mask. In this film he's an outlaw busy foiling the plans of a gang of outlaws as he gathers evidence that clears his father of old crime attributed to him and saves a stagecoach line from the grasp of your friendly villain.

    Starrett was a good cowboy hero, he sat the saddle well and was never romantic with the heroine.

    Return Of The Durango Kid is a good one to get acquainted with this series.
  • Another enjoyable western starring Charles Starrett who this time is looking to clear his father's name and help the stage line fend off the robbers. Simple yet fun western with some twists and a face exploding powder that gives the robbers a surprise.