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  • This movie follows basically the same theme as "Stagecoach Kid". where a lady dresses as a boy and tries to pass as a boy briefly. Also, this movie has Richard Martin playing the character of Chito Rafferty. Unlike "Stagecoach Kid",Pecos doesn't realize that the "boy" is really a lady for a while, whereas the character played by Tim Holt in "Stagecoach Kid" plays along with the act. This movie has no surprises, the good guys win and the hero gets the girl at the end,but the characters are likeable,the story flows well.
  • I saw this film many years go at the local picture house in Birmingham. Can't wait until it comes back on television.

    I think Barbara Hale played her part very well. Also, her maid was also a good addition to the plot. I also think Pecos's side-kick gave a good backing.

    Hope they put it back on bbc soon.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I encountered this little B-Western in its natural habitat, as the bottom half of a double-bill on the big screen, and enjoyed it enormously. 'West of the Pecos' has its perfunctory genre moments, such as the 'dying cowboy' scene and the final shoot-out and siege, but at heart it's a cross-dressing comedy, based around the masquerade of star Barbara Hale in boy's clothing and the consequences that ensue when 'he' crosses the path of amiable but unobservant cowboy Robert Mitchum. It's not exactly intellectually demanding -- true to the tradition of farce, Mitchum, as Pecos Smith, discovers the youngster's true sex only when her long hair falls out of her hat, despite having rescued her from drowning and carried her soaking wet in his arms from the river! -- but the comic potential is brought out to the fullest extent, while the spitfire secondary romance between the French girl and the half-Irish Mexican sidekick provides a very funny counterpoint.

    It has to be said that the hilarity subsides somewhat once the sexual confusion is sorted out -- like Pecos, we rather miss the tomboy 'young squirt' -- and all the loose ends are tidied away with implausibly convenient ease for the finale. But I came out of this one with a broad grin from ear to ear and an added bounce to my step, in the awareness of having been thoroughly entertained. It's silly but it's fun.
  • West Of The Pecos was the second of two Zane Grey novels that Robert Mitchum starred in for RKO before being drafted. He took the place of Tim Holt as RKO's movie cowboy because Holt was in military service. He even inherited Holt's romantic sidekick Richard Martin whom we all know as the ever popular Chito Gonzalez Bustamante Rafferty.

    Before Roy Bean went West Of The Pecos there was no law and order there and such that existed was in the hands of the infamous Sawtelle Brothers, Harry Woods and Perc Launders who head the vigilante committee. So these guys operate with impunity pretty much. But when they hold up the stagecoach and kill Bill Williams who is Mitchum's friend, Mitchum gets himself a mission.

    In the meantime meatpacking tycoon Thurston Hall is told by his doctor to get out in the good country and do some real exercise even if it's in the form of manual labor. So he packs off his daughter Barbara Hale and her French maid Rita Corday and leaves his lawyer Bruce Edwards who is Hale's intended and they move to a piece of ranch property in that area West Of The Pecos.

    Mitchum and Martin rescue the party when they're stranded in the desert and Hale has taken to wearing male drag the best to avoid unwanted attentions from the rough and ready and horny cowboys. A large part of the humor is due to Mitchum taking her for a man. A lot like some of the humor in Cary Grant/Katharine Hepburn film Sylvia Scarlett.

    Of course Robert Mitchum went on to bigger and better things as he was shortly to be cast in The Story Of GI Joe and Tim Holt returned to making westerns with Richard Martin. West Of The Pecos is a nice B western with a good mix of action and humor.

    But when I watch this and the film Nevada I often wonder if Mitchum had not gotten the big break for The Story Of GI Joe would he have continued as a B picture western star. Watch Nevada and West Of The Pecos and judge for yourself.
  • "West of the Pecos" is not to be confused with any of the great westerns of all time, or even of the 1940s. It is, nevertheless, a competently done little RKO-Radio Pictures western that reaches a surprisingly high level of quality considering its undeniable B-picture status.

    First and foremost is the performance of the great Robert Mitchum in one of his earliest starring roles. I can't imagine how anyone would not be charmed by this seemingly laid-back, I-don't-give-a-dam young actor who offered viewers a persona pretty much unlike that of any other star. What was it about Mitchum that so many, me included, find so appealing? I guess it was his plain spoken, down-to-earth manner; totally unaffected, totally at ease regardless of whatever predicament he found himself in.

    The plot is somewhat routine, that's true. But the actors are all more than competent, and we are also treated to some beautiful outdoor photography. The film was shot on location near Lone Pine, California, an area that has appeared in many, many movie productions over the years.

    My only complaint, other than the fact that the script offers no surprises, is that there is almost too much comic relief, supplied mostly by Richard Martin, an actor who played a Mexican in many films despite the fact that he obviously never got beyond Spanish 1 in school. (I'm a Spanish teacher with over 30 years service, so take my word for it, the guy's Spanish accent is far from native.)

    I suggest you take a look for yourself. "West of the Pecos" is not a bad way to spend a bit over an hour. Especially if you are a Mitchum fan.
  • This excellent Robert Mitchum/Barbara Hale western is equal parts of action, comedy and romance. There's enough characters running around doing stuff that one never gets bored. In a nutshell, Chicago city slickers go west to take over an old hacienda that's been abandoned for years. Of course there's outlaws, stage coach chases, gun play and all sorts of goings on. I rented this from Netflix because after visiting and photographing the Zane Grey Museum in Ohio I'm trying to watch as many of Zane Grey movies as possible. This flick is definitely worth renting.

    It was shot in Lone Pine California where many Hollywood westerns were shot. It seems Barbara Hale convinced the director to employ a guy she was sweet on, Bill Williams. He isn't around much in the movie but apparently he was around enough behind the scenes that Barbara managed to sink her hooks into the guy. They ended up married until his death and had three kids. One of the kids was William Katt, the actor.
  • This was an enjoyable movie, but I expected more from a 1945

    western with Robert Mitchum. The theme (a women dressed as a

    boy) has been handled better, both before & after this movie. Even

    a lower budget Cisco Kid movie with Gilbert Roland did a better

    job. What makes this movie enjoyable is the performance of

    Barbara Hale. I didn't know she had it in her, but here she's cute,

    funny, & a good actress. I'd go so far as to say that she stole the

    show from Robert Mitchum, which is a very difficult feat to

    accomplish. I rate it 5/10; it would have been lower without Hale's

    excellent performance.
  • rick_730 August 2007
    Superior B-Western with Bob Mitchum in his second starring film. Lots of action and plenty of plot as Barbara Hale, her father and their French maid relocate from Chicago to Texas, stumbling across Pecos Smith (Mitchum) as he exacts revenge on the crooked vigilantes who killed his best friend, then hides out, just trying to stay alive. Hale spends a good portion of the film cross-dressing, so if you've ever wanted to see Mitchum invite what he thinks is a teenage boy into his bed for a cuddle, then this is the film for you. Bob is laid back, compelling, sometimes cool, just a few months away from the first great characterisation of his career in The Story of G.I. Joe.

    (3 out of 4)
  • Richard Martin made a career out of the character, Chito Jose Gonzalez Bustamonte Rafferty. Cracking jokes about his Irish-Mexican heritage in a very dated accent, and busting out his guitar in every movie, he's one of the most recognizable western sidekicks in the business. You've got thirty chances to catch his character, including 1945's West of the Pecos.

    In this silly, humorous, escapism movie, Barbara Hale's father, Thurston Hall, has to get more exercise into his daily routine for his health. The family decides to pick up and move from Chicago to their ranch in Texas-but since it's the 1880s, the wild west is dangerous. In order to protect herself, and her French companion Rita Corday, Barbara dresses like a boy. But when she meets hunky Robert Mitchum on the road, maybe she'll want to trade in her trousers for a dress. . .

    I actually really liked West of the Pecos, even though it's just a silly western. Barbara Hale does a great job in her dual-personality and getting in touch with her masculine side, and Thurston Hall is a wonderful Frank Morgan knockoff. Of course, my loyalties lie with Robert Mitchum, which is why I first rented this early movie. He's so incredibly adorable in this movie, treating Barbara like a kid brother as they travel together in the desert. At nighttime, she's expected to bunk up with him to conserve body heat, and he holds open the blanket: "Get in! Cuddle!" Seriously, how darling is that?
  • billcr1230 June 2017
    A simple yet entertaining yarn, an old fashioned black and white film. West of the Pecos is another in the string of westerns Robert Mitchum. Rill Lambeth (Barbara Hale) drags her father, Colonel Lambeth (Thurston Hall) to Pecos, Texas to escape the pressures of the big city life of Chicago. Unfamiliar with the vigilante justice of 1800's rural America, they are in for a bit of culture shock. Rill is accustomed to the spoiled and sophisticated men of her upper class society. And,of course, she is smitten with the rugged Pecos Smith (Mitchum). Outlaws battle the good guys, and, as expected, Mitchum is on the ride side of the law. A few gun fights ensue, but with very little violence. This is not Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained, but instead a g rated 1940's "picture." The film only runs sixty six minutes and I can highly recommend it. PS I still rank Tarantino as my favorite current director.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Two-gun toting Robert Mitchum reunited with "Nevada" director Edward Killy for their second and last Zane Grey western "West of the Pecos," with Barbara Hale portraying Mitchum's leading lady. This rugged, black & white, RKO oater boasts solid production values despite being made during World War II when rationing of everything from food to lumber was the rule of the day in Hollywood. Of course, when the characters are in the desert, the scenery is stunning, but the outdoor scenes set in sound stages appear ersatz. Career conniver Harry Woods makes a despicable villain with a mustache who will do whatever it takes to achieve his goals. The flirtatious romance between Mitchum and Hale lurches off to an uneven start with Hale posing as a boy. Mitchum and Hale make a credible couple. Meanwhile, our Stetson clad hero struggles to corral the vicious varmint who liquidated his best friend during a stagecoach hold-up. "West of the Pecos" could be classified as another one of those young men who venture out west for medicinal purposes. The difference, however, is that the young man turns out actually to be an older gentlemen who plans to rehabilitate him in the climate of the old West. Since I haven't read Zane Grey's novel, I have no idea how closely "Stagecoach War" scenarist Norman Houston adhered to Grey's book.

    The story unfolds in Chicago in 1887 with Colonel Lambeth's physician, Doc Howard (Bryant Washburn), urging the meatpacking entrepreneur to alter his lifestyle or suffer the consequences. "You've got more lard around your middle," Howard observes, "than one of your own hogs." Lambeth says he hasn't exercised in 20 years. "You better take time. Use your arms and legs. Walk miles. Ride a horse. Get yourself a job as bricklayer if you have to." Lambeth dreads such activities. "Me?" Howard shrugs, "Anything to keep you from creaking in the middle," Howard asserts. Moments later the doctor advises Lambeth's daughter, "You must get him away from this city, far away, where he can be kept physically active." Rill decides to take her father out west to Texas to a ranch named the Ranch of the Oro. Lambeth's attorney Clyde Corbin explains the hacienda requires a lot of work to get it back up to snuff. The Colonel's headstrong daughter Rill (Barbara Hale of TV's "Perry Mason") goads him to travel to their sprawling hacienda in Texas. "You're going to Texas, father," she points out, "you need a change."

    It seems that the attorney and Rill have eyes for each other and plan to get married. "West of the Pecos is still a wild and lawless country," Clyde assures Rill, "I won't let you go." Killy superimposes a map over a long shot of the Lambeths riding through the arid southwest. Incidentally, the stagecoach is drawn by four horses. Pecos Smith (Robert Mitchum) rides up to the stagecoach and insists that shotgun guard Tex Evans (Bill Williams) pay him his salary and save him a trip into town. No sooner has Pecos ridden away with his loot than outlaws attack the stagecoach and kill Tex. The outlaws take the stagecoach strongbox, blast it open, and clean it out. No sooner have the robbers ridden away than Pecos and his hybrid Mexican sidekick Chito Rafferty (Richard Martin) ride up and tend to Tex. In town, the Colonel clashes verbally with evil Brad Sawtelle about vigilante justice. "This is no country for civilized people, let alone women," Lambeth bemoans the cruel nature of the west. Rill learns more about these cruelties later when two men accost her and mistake her for a prostitute.

    Meantime, before he dies, Tex tells Pecos that Sam Sawtelle (Perc Launders) shot him. After two men treat her like a whore, Rill adopts the western outfit of a young man. She masquerades as a boy during the trip that her father and she embark on to their remote ranch. When their wagon breaks down, stranding them in the middle of nowhere, the Lambeths and Suzanne, Rill's French Maid (Rita Corday) cross trails with Pecos Smith and his sidekick. The campfire scene when Pecos tries to persuade Rill to cuddle up with him in his bedroll so they can share their bodily warmth is hilarious as is the cigarette rolling scene.

    "I don't do what people expect me to," Pecos (Robert Mitchum) observes at one point to a villain. Mitchum and Hale make a believable couple, and their shenanigans before Pecos realizes Rill isn't a young man are amusing. He discovers quite by accident that she is a woman when they are crossing the river on horseback. The relationship between Pecos and Rill is uneven. She is an heiress and he is a $30 a month cowhand when he isn't riding the stage. Eventually, Sam Sawtelle confesses his crime, and Lambeth refuses to turn Pecos over to the authorities. Meanwhile, another gunfight erupts with the Colonel shooting it out with Brad Sawtelle's vigilantes. Pecos catches Brad before he can flee. Pecos winds up with Rill, while her former fiancé heads back to Chicago.

    "West of the Pecos" amounts a mischievous, little B-horse opera with usually strong performances.