The Painted Stallion
directed by Alan James, Ray Taylor, William Witney
starring Ray Corrigan (= Ray 'Crash' Corrigan), Hoot Gibson, LeRoy Mason, Duncan Renaldo, Sammy McKim, Wally Wales (as Hal Taliaferro), Jack Perrin, Ed 'Oscar' Platt, Lou Fulton, Jean Carmen (as Julia Thayer), Maston Williams, George DeNormand, Gordon De Main, Charles King, Vinegar Roan
Kit Carson, Jim Bowie, Davy Crockett, Oscar & Elmer
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Mexico has just freed itself from Spanish rule, & an US delegation is on
the way to negotiate trade conditions with the newborn state, but some Mexicans
like General Dupray (LeRoy Mason) are less than happy with any kind of trade
agreements since they would seriously cut into their income made up mainly of
collecting invented customs & taxes as well as ordinary thieving. So Dupray
sends out his personal outlaw Zamorro (Duncan Renaldo) & his henchmen (to
little surprise, Charles King is among them) to keep the wagontrek taking the
delegate to Santa Fe.
The trek, led by US chief negotiator Clark Stuart (Ray Corrigan) & Walter Jamison (Hoot
Gibson) is accompanied by an assortment of heroes of the West though like Jim
Bowie (Wally Wales) & a very young (about 8)
Kit Carson (Sammy McKim), & they have a secret & mysterious guardian,
the Rider of the Painted Stallion (Jean Carmen aka Julia Thayer), a woman dressed like an
Indian chief shooting whistling arrows whenever danger arises & watching
the trek from a distance. So despite many an attack by outlaws or misguided
Indians, the trek makes it to Santa Fe, where Stuart, meeting up with his old
buddy Davy Crockett (Jack Perrin), is quick to find out that Dupray, who at
their arrival is pretending to be on the Americans' side, is indeed behind all
the obstacles they have encountered on their way.
Stuart, his associates & the Rider even succeed in driving Dupray &
gang out of Santa Fe, but Dupray still has his secret hideout in the caves
nearby, & when Stuart follows him there he has to realise it is riddled
Eventually though Stuart masters all of them, & with Jamison & the
settlers from the trap he stornms the hideout, but Dupray still has an ace of 2
up his sleeve & succeeds in capturing Stuart & Bowie & ties them up
so they can cover the escape of him & his men ... but he hasn't taken into
account the Rider & her stallion, who in the end cut short the escape route
& make it possible for the settlers to deal with Dupray & his gang.
Painted Stallion is on one hand a very fastmoving serial, with action &
even fine miniature effects aplenty, on the other hand it's a bit too streamlined
(even within the context of 1930's movie-serials) to remain wholly interesting: there's hardly a plottwist at
all, the story is less driving to a climax than just from cliffhanger to
cliffhanger & even the mysterious figure of the Rider of the Painted
Stallion does little to add mystery or distraction to the plot (in fact her
origin is given away after the showdown of the serial in just a sideline).
Plus, Hoot Gibson as the second lead is totally wasted in his role, as he
has neither much to do in the action department, nor is any attempt made to add
some of his comic talents (that were within the b-Western genre quite
considerable) to the proceedings. Comedy is instead provided by the rather lame
- & shortlived - comic-duo Oscar & Elmer.