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Peaceful Patton (Hoot Gibson) is as good a son as you could imagine: He
loves his mother (Jessie Arnold), loves to take her to church, doesn't
drink or smoke because whe wouldn't allow it, and he avoids fights just
because she wouldn't approve. Heck, he doesn't even carry a gun. That
doesn't mean he's a coward though, he doesn't hesitate to ride into the
middle of a gunfight with the words "Can't you guss talk it
over?" - it's just to no avail usually.
Eventually, Patton tries to
get a job at Senora Martini's (Lina Basquette) ranch, but she takes an
instant dislike in him and gives him an semingly insurmountable (and
dangerous) task: To return 30 pieces of cattle from neighbouring rancher
Barlow (G.Raymond Nye), who has stolen them.
Patton, unaware of the kind
of violent person Barlow is, just rides to his ranch and asks ... and
since Patton looks just like the most notorious outlaw of the region, the
Hard Hombre, Barlow reimburses the cattle in cash.
Senora Martini is now
impressed by Patton's effectiveness and starts to take a liking in him ...
until she learns he might be the Hard Hombre, which puts fear into her
heart - just like into everyone else's. So it's a good thing than that the
whole region has dried out, and che can send him away to look for new
It seems though when Patton finds the new rangeland, he's
already to late since all the other ranchers are already there and have
made their claims ... only because they mistake him for the Hard Hombre,
they get mighty frightened and even want to give him their rangeland for
free. At first, Patton is mighty surprised, but then he learns he's
supposed to be an outlaw, and uses this reputation to his advantage,
cutting each and every rancher in for a fair land-deal - something the
others apparently were unable to do - and he would have gotten away with
it, too hadn't his mother shown up and blown his cover. And now, the other
ranchers, despite the fact that he gave them all a fair deal, form a posse
to hunt him down. Patton gets away, but then he runs into the real Hard
Hombre (Frank Winkleman), who doesn't approve of the use of his name to do
right for a change. And suddenly, all the ranchers are siding with the
(real) Hard Hombre, just to have Patton punished for getting them a fair
deal. Then though, the Hard Hombre makes a mistake when he pushes Patton's
mother, upon which Peaceful Patton gets so furious he beats the living
daylights out of the Hard Hombre - which finally gets him the respect from
the ranchers, and of course, he gets the girl in the end, while the
sheriff (Christian J.Frank) gets the Hard Hombre.
suffers pretty much all the setbacks independent B-Westerns from the early
talkie era tend to suffer: Stagey direction, lack of production values,
clumsy handling of action scenes and so on.
Yet, Hard Hombre is
an incredibly entertaining film, mainly for two reasons, the story and the
actors: The story, right down to the title and character names (Hard
Hombre, Peaceful Patton) is so camp and tongue-in-cheek at the same time,
you can't help laughing. And Hoot Gibson, the one cowboy actor who has
always provided his own comic relief, is almost hilarious as the guy who
couldn't hurt a fly who gives a clumsy tough-guy-impression, sided by Lina
Basquette, whose Spanish Senora always borders caricature, Mathilde
Comont as her chaperon, who simply is a living caricature, and Jessie
Arnold as Patton's resolute mother, who's a great contrast to Gibson's
Of yourse, above-mentioned shortcomings keep this
from being a masterpiece, but considering this was nothing more than a
series Western, Hard Hombre is almost remarkable.