28 December 2008 | dougdoepke
Good Cast, Sprawling Story
Pretty fair Republic Western. Cabot makes a convincing baddie, along with a spunky Booth as the strong-minded gal, and of course Elliott as the good guy. It's a big cast with better than average acting, and a story that probably takes in more than it should. Cabot is conspiring with his paid-for senator (Schildkraut) to peel off west Texas from the rest of the republic so he can run it unopposed. Only the Texas Rangers stand in his way. Elliott joins up with the Rangers, even though his renegade brother is killed in a gunfight with them. After the head Ranger's (Holt) son is killed, he suspects Elliott as having evened the score because of his dead brother. Now Elliot has to clear himself by making Cabot confess to the real killer.
Add Booth's reporter-turned-Ranger, along with Adele Mara as a Spanish entertainer and Andy Devine as a rather overweight member of the force, and you've got a good-sized cast for a horse opera and a story line, to boot. I'm just sorry Elliott, a surprisingly fine actor, doesn't get a chance to do more. He had one of the best angry snarls in the business. There're some good action scenes and trademark Republic stunt work, but also typical studio cost-cutters like cheap exterior sets and clumsily done process shots. Also, there are darn few palm trees in west Texas, at least the last time I was there-- somebody should have caught that before the tropical plants went on screen. Anyway, it's an entertaining 90 minutes for sagebrush fans, but I'm afraid nothing more.