The Fighting Frontiersman (1946)

Passed   |    |  Western

The Fighting Frontiersman (1946) Poster

Prospector Cimarron Dobbs (Emmett Lynn) stumbles on a vast cache of Spanish gold left in Texas by Santa Anna's army, and knows he will be swindled out of his discovery unless he gets help. ... See full summary »


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3 September 2006 | krorie
| Swamp Woman Blues
This rather routine Durango Kid outing is enlivened by several good musical numbers, three written and performed by Smiley Burnette, a much better musician and songwriter than comedian, and one written by Bob Newman of the western swing group, The Georgia Crackers, not up to the standards of Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys but still well above average. There is also a fine rendition of Stephen Foster's "Old Folks at Home (Swanee River)," given a western twist by the band.

Of Smiley's three songs, "Don't Be Mad At Me," "Swamp Woman Blues," and "Coyote Song," "Swamp Woman Blues" is the most innovative. It's only 1946 and already Smiley is helping lead the way toward hillbilly boogie that would later be perfected by the likes of the Delmore Brothers featuring the virtuoso harmonica player from the hills of Arkansas, Wayne Rainey. Smiley's mouth harp has a blues feeling to it seldom heard by white players of the day. It's good that Smiley's music is so invigorating for his attempt at humor in "The Fighting Frontiersman" is lame.

The story by pulp fiction writer Ed Earl Repp concerns the discovery of Santa Anna's treasure by prospector Cimmaron Dobbs played by funny man Emmett Lynn, with two mules (Elmer and Amarillie)that often get more laughs than Lynn. Supposedly Mexican President/Generalisimo Santa Anna hid the treasure after the war to keep it out of the hands of the Texicans but the script doesn't make it exactly clear which war, the War for Texas Independence or the Mexican War. The beginning of the film indicates that it may have been the Civil War, but that would be historically incorrect.

Cimmaron was grub staked by his old pals in the saddle, Steve Reynolds (Charles Starrett) and Smiley Burnette (Smiley Burnette). Cimmaron has a better looking pal at the local saloon, a songbird named Dixie (Helen Mowery). It's not completely clear just whose side Dixie is on. Not long after Cimmaron's conversation with Dixie about his recent discovery, explaining to her that he was sending for Steve and Smiley to assist and protect him, that John Munro (Robert Filmer) and his three henchman, one being the famous stuntman Jock Mahoney as Waco, kidnap the old timer, hide him out, then try to torture him into telling them where the loot is hid. Steve's alter ego, The Durango Kid, is determined to free Cimmaron and share the wealth with the town folks.

Though there is plenty of action that makes one think of a Republic feature, much stock footage is used, giving the avid Durango Kid fan a feeling of déjà vu. Some of the editing of the old with the new is so amateurish that at times the old film and the new film are out of sync.

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