The Gallant Legion (1948)

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The Gallant Legion (1948) Poster

When power-hungry Faulkner and Leroux want to divide Texas into smaller sections, instead of allowing it to enter the Union as a single state, Gary Conway and the Texas Rangers must step in... See full summary »


6.9/10
78

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29 June 2011 | bkoganbing
8
| Who Else But The Texas Rangers
Another fine bigger budget western from Republic during the height of Wild Bill Elliott's career is Gallant Legion which has as its plot line a dastardly villain played by Bruce Cabot who wants nothing less than to carve out West Texas from the state and set up his own satrap with him as the big boss. During the Reconstruction period Cabot was head of the corrupt Texas State Police which displaced the Rangers. He wants back into power and will stop at nothing.

Two things you should be aware of when watching Gallant Legion. There has been some considerable revisionist history post the Civil Rights era about The Texas State Police which operated under Texas's carpetbagger government. They were not as bad as made out in histories written with a Southern bias and a lot of the objection stemmed from the fact that blacks were members of the State Police. You'll see nary a black face in this movie. But the villainy and corruption of the Texas State Police was an accepted view in 1948.

Secondly Texas is the only state in the union which if it so chooses can subdivide itself into I believe as many as six states. What Cabot is trying to do in Gallant Legion is set up West Texas as its own state and he's rather ruthless in trying to besmirch the Rangers effectiveness as a law enforcement agency. He's even willing to start an Indian War with the Commanches to swing public opinion his way.

Bill Elliott is his usual peaceable man character who wants to settle down and ranch with younger brother Harold Landon. What he doesn't know is Landon joined the State Police while he was away and is now part of Cabot's raiders who are causing general mayhem throughout the state. When Landon is killed Elliott joins the Rangers to find out who is behind all the lawlessness in which his brother died.

Gallant Legion boasts a fine cast including Joseph Schildkraut as a corrupt State Senator under Cabot's thumb, Adrian Booth as Schildkraut's niece who is a reporter, Adele Mara who sings a few songs in a saloon when Landon isn't courting her, Jack Holt as Captain of the Rangers, Andy Devine as the Ranger camp cook and comic relief and Grant Withers as the real life John Wesley Hardin.

Elliott was probably at his most heroic here, but Bruce Cabot has one of his career roles as an outstanding western villain. The scope of this man's evil is astounding.

I'm surprised Herbert J. Yates didn't save this one for John Wayne. Be that as it may Wild Bill Elliott got a film in what was one that definitely got away from the Duke.

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Action | Adventure | Drama | Romance | Western

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