After saving himself from hanging, Laramie Nelson saves Tracks Williams from the same fate. They then travel to Lindsay's ranch where they get jobs. There they run into Adams who they learn is planning to rustle Lindsay's horses.
Laramie Nelson (Buster Crabbe) falsely accused of horse-stealing, is about to be strung up by a posse when a sudden lurch of his horse knocks down his would-be executioners, and he makes his escape. He soon comes upon another hanging posse and saves "Honest" Tracks Williams (Raymond Hatton), accused of a long, long list of minor crimes, and the two ride off together. They come to a small Arizona town, and their first encounter is with attorney Monroe Adams (Grant Withers) and his client, Harriet Lindsay (Marsha Hunt), owner of the large, prosperous Spanish Peaks ranch. Harriet and Adams have come to town to stop the marriage of her young sister, Lenta (Betty Jane Rhodes), to shy young Alonzo "Lonesome" Mulhall (Johnny Downs). They are successful, and Alonzo is jailed, along with Tracks, following his attempt to shoot up the town. Tracks offers to arrange an elopement for Alonzo as soon as they are out of jail. Laramie gets them out of jail ahead of schedule by stampeding a herd of ... Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
[Tracks explains how he saved a youngster from a life of crime]
I saved him from committing a dishonest act.
I don't doubt it. Go on with your story.
Over in Colorado, Arledge took a right-sized herd of horses from a fella without the fella knowing it at that time.
And I suppose you talked him into giving them back?
Well, I done even better than that. In order to make sure that the owner got them back, I took them horses myself. I started looking for that fella. But you know, I looked and I ...
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"The Arizona Raiders" (1936) is what I call an "uneven film". They took a pretty good Zane Grey story and then assembled an excellent ensemble of actors; but Paramount Pictures tried to bring the thing in on a shoestring. Even by the low budget standards of the one-hour "B" westerns of its day this one stands out as a cheap production. Lots of lame stock footage poorly matched with studio close-ups and coupled with clumsily staged action sequences made even weaker by having key portions of the action happening off screen.
Fortunately there are enough good performances that overall the film ranks pretty high on the pecking order of these Saturday matinée features. Larry "Buster" Crabbe of Olympic swimming and "Flash Gordon" fame plays the standard wondering cowpoke western hero. Like a lot of famous non-actors who got work in the movies he pretty much plays himself in every part, but he has a nice relaxed screen presence that fits this particular character especially well. Character actor and Johnny Mack Brown sidekick Raymond Hatton provides a lot of comic relief as Buster's sidekick (what a surprise) who is a weird combination of Doc Holiday and Uncle Joe from "Petticoat Junction". And Johnny Downs nicely underplays one of his earnest young men characters; named Alonzo "Lonesome" Mulhall.
The prize of the cast is a very young Marsha Hunt in one of her first roles. Hunt was the Janet Leigh of her era; there is quite a physical resemblance in addition to which both actresses were a little too intelligent looking for the movie business. Which did have the advantage of giving almost all the characters they played a subtle kind of dimensionality. The film would have benefited from a few more shots of Marsha (especially some better close-ups) but she is in enough scenes and there is enough excellent acting demonstrated to make the film mandatory viewing for her fans.
The three male stars are essentially a mismatched version of the "Three Mesquiteers" who assist the female owner of the Spanish Peaks Ranch to foil a plot to steal her herd of horses. The film gets unintentionally hilarious in its climatic stampede scene as the stock footage background projection transforms a modest size herd into enough horses to outfit several dozen regiments of cavalry.
The Lions Gate DVD is not an especially good print but its Special Features are a real treasure. These include two documentary style films made by Zane Grey and a third documentary about the author himself who was a very interesting character.
Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.
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