Al Burton, an unscrupulous money lender, not only endeavors to have his funds returned, but also plans to gain control over the properties on which he has advanced finances by having his henchmen see to it that the debtor cannot meet the note.When he kills "Dad" Mason, father of Betty Mason, Burton is brought face to face with a mysterious avenger, known as the Dude Cowboy, but never gets close enough to put him out of the way.Burton also finds his plans continually upset by a lummox cowhand, Tod "Ace" Carter, who has the faculty of being in the wrong place at the right time. Burton is prodded into reckless action by the actions of the Dude Bandit, "Ace" in disguise. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Back during the silent days, Hoot Gibson was a big western movie star. This is one of his talkies. Hoot still was a star, but his popularity had waned a bit. In many ways, Gibson reminds me of actors like William S. Hart and Tim McCoy--guys who really were not all that handsome but were solid in their roles--and little like the up and coming stars of the 30s (like Gene Autry and Roy Rogers). No, you wouldn't catch Hoot singing in his films! And, to look at him, you really wouldn't guess he was a star. Now this is NOT an insult--I like the guys who are not so pretty in my westerns!
The film begins with Hoot explaining to his friend that he's here incognito to investigate the death of his other friend, "Dad" Mason. But, in doing so, Hoot pretends to be a bit of a wimp and the bad guys don't realize that he's a man to be reckoned with! However, Hoot uses an alter-ego--a well-dressed bandit (thus the title of the film) who rights wrongs and does all the manly things Hoot can't let others see. This sort of plot device is a lot like the one used in Zorro films or in "The Scarlet Pimpernel"--a wimpy guy who is in reality a brave hero who fights injustice.
Unfortunately, a SERIOUS problem develops in the film--and it's not the fault of the original filmmakers. The beginning of the film is REPEATED later, as the same reel is played twice in the public domain version of the film! Obviously something is missing as well--and I wonder if a correct and complete version exists. It's a shame really, as Hoot is quite good in the film--pretty funny as the lazy and not particularly heroic cowhand. My advice is try to see a complete version or any one of Gibson's other films--this one is just frustrating as it is now. Especially because I liked what I got to see!
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