"Albuquerque" is a routine Randolph Scott western set in the town of Silver City about two competing freight lines.
Cole Armin (Scott) is on a stagecoach on which oddly enough, the driver Juke (George "Gabby" Hayes) and his co-driver are not armed. As luck would have it, the coach is held up, a passenger killed and a lady passenger, Celia Wallace (Catherine Craig) is robbed of $10,000, money that was to be used by herself and her brother Ted (Russell Hayden) to get their freight line up and running. Of course Cole is immediately attracted to the comely Celia.
The purpose of Cole's trip is to go to work for his uncle John Armin (George Cleveland) and learn his freight business. Cole soon learns that his uncle is behind the robbery and forces him to give the money back (although we don't see how). He declines his uncle's job offer and joins up with Juke and the Wallaces. Evil Uncle John and his chief heavy Murkill (Lon Chaney) do all they can to foil them.
Uncle John sends for confidence woman Letty Tyler (Barbara Britton) to infiltrate the Wallace company and learn of their plans. As you might of guessed, Ted Wallace becomes enamored of Letty and she soon sees the error of her ways and double crosses Uncle John. Meanwhile, the Wallace line negotiates a contract with miners Lane Chandler and Russell Simpson to haul their silver ore down a hazardous mountain trail. Ted is injured and, you guessed it again, Cole is forced to drive one of the wagons. Well..Uncle John learns of this and in a final confrontation they........
Scott is good as always in the lead but is hampered by a predicable and somewhat weak script. Britton does her best as the good/bad girl and Craig is suitably young and innocent as Scott's love interest. In an unusual bit of casting, George Cleveland plays the chief villain, a mean spirited wheel chair bound old man. Cleveland was usually cast as crusty old towns men on the right side of the law. Chaney is wasted again as Cleveland's henchman. His fight with Scott is ludicrous since he goes through the whole thing save for the last punch, with a lighted cigarette in his mouth. Hollywood never did seem to know what to do with Chaney. When he did get a chance to act such as in "Of Mice and Men" (1939), "High Noon" (1952) or "The Defiant Ones" (1958), he exhibited real talent.
Hayes and Hayden had appeared together in the Hopalong Cassidy series between 1937-39 as Hoppy's sidekicks. Hayes after a career in "B" westerns, appeared in several Scott "A" westerns in the last years of his career, which ended in 1950.
This film gives the viewer an excellent example to see the color process "Cinecolor" a cheap technicolor clone that was being used by some studios at the time. You'll notice that the reds all seem to photograph orange (note Scott's kerchief and Chaney's long johns, for example). Not unlike Republic's "Trucolor" which seemed to have a green tinge to it.
Great to see ole Gabby in color for a change though.
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