Great Stagecoach Robbery (1945)

Passed   |    |  Western

Great Stagecoach Robbery (1945) Poster

The killing of young 'Boots' Hollister in this film is one of the most graphic, chilling and stark scenes, even with most of it off-camera, ever seen in a Republic B-western intended for ... See full summary »



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29 January 2009 | bkoganbing
| Idolized Outlaw Father
The Great Stagecoach Robbery was one of the Red Ryder series from Republic Pictures. Though Herbert J. Yates's main star at this time was singing cowboy Roy Rogers not all of his stars sung. Bill Elliott was one of several actors to play the role comic book cowboy hero Red Ryder on the screen. He might be the best known of the screen Red Ryders although his nickname of Wild Bill Elliott came from playing Wild Bill Hickok in a few films.

This film was something of a shock to me as it involved the murder of a child and a deliberate one on one act of homicide. The Ryder tries to aid an outlaw played by Francis McDonald to go straight which is his intention. But other people have different ideas for McDonald.

First his two kids John James and Sylvia Arslan who idolize their outlaw father. Two of McDonald's former henchmen want to take up business as usual. But the fact that McDonald is coming back to Painted Valley to return $150.000.00 in stolen money which he hid before being arrested doesn't sit well with them at all. These two try to use the kids for their nefarious purposes.

The murder of Sylvia Arslan in a film that was designed for the Saturday matinée crowd was something I never figured to see in a Republic cowboy movie. It's all the more gruesome because the perpetrator is an authority figure. How Herbert J. Yates let this one out let alone the censors miss it is a mystery.

Considering what has transpired the Heigh-Ho Silver ending with Red Ryder and Little Beaver riding off into the sunset is a bit much. Still The Great Stagecoach Robbery is not a bad B western and you can see why the strong and personable Wild Bill Elliott was such a popular cowboy star back in the day.

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