In this Hoot Gibson version/swipe of the "Zorro" story, sneaky Lafe Kildare, the crooked cashier of a Texas bank, murders the bank president, Jim Fremont, to keep from being exposed as a thief. He covers up his crime, becomes president of the bank and is the leader of a small army of gunmen oppressing the ranchers of Comanche County. Curt Fremont rides in to investigate his brother's murder, and convinces Kildare that he is a harmless, brainless, worthless, no-account lazy drifter--- and might even be a sissy or a fop ---so Kildare decides he isn't worth the trouble of having him killed.Curt's pose also does nothing to impress rancher's daughter Mary Lou Moran as day-by-day he does nothing but lay around and eat and sleep and ignore Mary Lou, and Mary Lou is not use to being ignored. But... night after night, Curt rides out in a Mexican costume as a bandit called "El Capitan" and harasses Kildare's business enterprises to the point of becoming a nuisance. Kildare offers a reward for ... Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When his brother is shot dead by crooked bank cashier Lafe Kildare, Curt Fremont poses as a weak-kneed scaredy-cat. In reality, he is vengeance-seeking "El Capitan".
The script sounds promising enough, but it's given an economy-budget treatment -- and worse, it's full of holes. One moment, Sally Eilers (Gibson's wife in real life when this movie was made) is telling us how she remembers the hero's act of bravery in saving her life, and next minute she's convinced he's turned coward. Maybe the screenwriter is trying to portray the heroine as a dumb cluck, but that's not the way Sally Eilers plays the part.
It's also rather odd to see Robert Homans, that perennial policeman on the contemporary city beat, transferred to a role as an avuncular rancher in the Old West.
Nonetheless, despite script flaws (including scenes that run too long and others that seem short-changed), director Otto Brower manages to invest the movie with a bit of pace and atmosphere, despite an obviously limited budget. Of course, he's helped by the fact that Hooper Atchley is playing the slimy villain with all stops out, while Edward Peil makes a convincingly sympathetic sheriff.
We could have done without George Mendoza and his occasional weak attempts at comic relief, but Hoot Gibson himself does a good job in both his characterizations. He's also admirably agile on his feet and performs at least two of his own stunts
4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?