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Death Rides the Plains

USA 1943
produced by
Sigmund Neufeld for PRC
directed by Sam Newfield
starring Robert Livingston, Al St. John, Ray Bennett, Patty McCarty, I.Stanford Jolley, George Chesebro, John Elliott, Kermit Maynard, Slim Whitaker, Karl Hackett
screenplay by Joseph O'Donnell, based on a story by Patricia Harper, cinematography by Robert E.Cline

Lone Rider, Lone Rider (Robert Livingston), Fuzzy

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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The Lone Rider (Bob Livingston) & Fuzzy (Al St.John) uncover a plot by evil business Ben Gowdey (Ray Bennett), who pretends to sell his ranch to out-of-towners, but then has Rogan (I.Stanford Jolley) & his henchemn kill these prospective buyers & rob them before they even reach town. The Rider & Fuzzy can even save one of these prospective buyers, Marshall (John Elliott) from certain death, but learn from the man he didn't have the money after all but his daughter Virginia (Patti McCarty), whom the Lone Rider then has to hold up to prevent the money from falling into the wrong hands.

Ben Gowdey soon hears about all this, & when one of his men finds out where the Rider keeps Marshall hidden, he turns the tables on him by having Marshall killed & making Virginia file for his arrest (after all he has robbed her of 25.000 Dollars, & she only has his word that he will return them).

Only just can the Rider & Fuzzy escape arrest, & now they decide, with the next prospective buyer coming their way, to turn the tables on Ben Gowdey again by marking the buyers money & have him robbed, meanwhile doing a little search on Ben Gowdey's ranch ... where they find quite a number of corpses. So when the sheriff finally thinks he has gotten hold of the Rider & Fuzzy, it's easy for them to turn in Ben Gowdey instead ... who just needs a little chase on horseback & a taste of Lone Rider's fists before going to prison ...

 

Rather mediocre Lone Rider Western with Bob Livingston - a popular B-cowboy in the second half of the 30's but now his star was definitely on the decline - in the lead, every now & again wearing a black mask, presumably to remind audiences of his days as the Lone Ranger (in Republic's The Lone Ranger Rides Again), since on a narrative level Bob's frequent masking & unmasking makes little sense, which is only emphasized by the fact that neither is his mask all that convincing, nor does he necessarily hide his identity especially from the bad guys. To add to all that, Livingston in the lead might be somewhat energetic but is certainly not the most charismatic of screen-cowboys (which presumably is why he found his greatest successes in ensemble-Westerns, namely the  Three Mesquiteers-series). The highlights of the film are on the other hand the shenanigans of Fuzzy Al St.John, who was trained in comedy in the silent as a Keystone Cop & by the 40's proved to be one of the best & funniest sidekicks in the busines, lifting the quality of many a PRC-Western.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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Tales to Chill
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
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Tales to Chill
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Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD