24 February 1999 | rocky-40
An off-beat script centering on characterization puts this near the top of the "Rocky" Lane westerns.
A mystery element makes this one of the best of the 38 tightly-written little "Rocky" Lane B-westerns produced by Republic Pictures between 1947 and 1953. As the title lawman, Lane pursues an ex-cavalry officer (Clayton Moore, about to become TV's "Lone Ranger") who escaped from prison to an abandoned fort. The officer, convicted of helping to steal a $25,000 payroll, is trying to prove his innocence by finding his still-missing superior from whom he has gotten a cryptic letter. Similar letters bring other survivors from the ambushed patrol to the fort, as well as an outlaw gang (led by Roy Barcroft in one of his meatiest bad-guy roles) intent on finding the missing loot for themselves. Lane must not only discover who was actually behind that long-ago robbery and what happened to the missing major and the money, but also figure out how he and the small band trapped in the fort by the outlaws can escape.