29 June 2011 | bkoganbing
The Good and Bad Plummer Brothers
The Last Bandit which is a remake of an earlier Republic western that starred Bob Steele called The Great Robbery involves the story of Wild Bill Elliott and Forrest Tucker, a pair of outlaw brothers named Plummer who have gone their separate ways. Elliott has left their Ozark turf and gone west to Nevada and now works for a railroad express company making an honest living. But when Tucker hears that he figures he's got an inside man for a really big score. He brings the whole gang with him from Missouri to Nevada and that includes Adrian Booth who flirts between the two brothers.
Still a film aimed at the juvenile trade, The Last Bandit is a great deal more intricately plotted than most westerns out of Republic Studios. Herbert J. Yates even splurged for a color process called TruColor and the DVD I have it shows it has aged well or been nicely restored. The color may make this the most expensive Wild Bill Elliott western ever done.
Such stalwarts as Jack Holt, Andy Devine, Virginia Brissac, Martin Garralaga, and Grant Withers are all in the cast in roles suited to them. Charles Middleton the famous Ming the Merciless makes his farewell appearance in The Last Bandit as a circuit riding preacher at the beginning of the film. But the one to watch is Minna Gombell who plays the proprietress of the saloon where all the plots are hatched and she's sitting on the nest. The film also hints ever so gently at her real profession as madam of a bordello, also unusual for a film marketed to juveniles.
The final 20 minutes or so deals with the robbery and Elliott's attempt to foil same. It was expertly done and a close run thing.
The Last Bandit is definitely a must for Wild Bill Elliott fans.