Universal's 16th sound-era serial (following "The Jungle Mystery" and preceding "Clancy of the Mounted", both starring Tom Tyler) was based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's short story (loosely adapted), and opens with a special train carrying gold bullion from the Golconda Mine, that is stopped by henchmen, working secretly for Sam Slater (J. Frank Glendon), partner of Potter Hood (Francis Ford), in the mine ownership. Laying down portable tracks, the bandits take the train off of the main line, hide it in an abandoned mine shaft, steal the gold, and pick up their make-shift tracks, leaving a mystery in their wake. Potter's son Tom Hood (Frank Albertson), just home from college, determines to solve the mystery with the aid of his pal Bob Collins (football great Ernie Nevers.) They board the gold-shipment special train on its next run. Newspaper reporter Betty Moore (Cecilia Parker)and her friend Kate Bland (Caryl Lincoln)are in a car driving along a road that parallels the train tracks, ... Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
CHAPTER TITLES: 1. The Lost Special; 2. Racing Death; 3. The Red Lantern; 4. Devouring Flames; 5. The Lightning Strikes; 6. The House of Mystery; 7. The Tank Room Terror; 8. The Fatal Race; 9. Into the Depths; 10. The Jaws of Death; 11. The Flaming Forest; 12. Retribution. See more »
A train carrying a large amount of gold bullion is boarded by robbers, who lay portable tracks leading to an abandoned mine, where the train is emptied of its shipment and driven down a mine, 300 feet deep. This leads to anger between Potter Hood (president of the Golconda mine, whose gold was aboard the train) and Horace Moore (owner of the Western Pacific Railroad). Both however do not realize that Slater, vice president of the mine, is the mastermind behind the robbery, working with nightclub owner Dirk. Hood's son, Tom arrives home from college with his football teammate, Bob Collins, and decides to investigate the mystery, and is eventually joined by Moore's niece Betty (a reporter for the paper) and friend Kate Bland. For twelve chapters, its up to our foursome of adventurers to find out the location of the gold, while keeping themselves safe from the attacks of Slater and his gang. Good serial, with nice characterizations of the four heroes. There is nothing special from Glendon's performance of Stanley, but he is behind the scenes too often for him to do dastardly tricks. The serial is very good with its railway action for the first three chapters, but the rest of the serial is just Stanley's gang staying one step ahead of Tom, Bob, Betty, and Kate. The fights come off as really weak (ironic that one of football's all time gutsiest players, Ernie Nevers, looks dull in his action scenes.) Still a very good serial. Rating, based on serials, 7.
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