Ranch owner Sally Jordan is engaged in a fence war with rancher Big John Trumbull. Hoppy and Johnny, along with trusty sidekick Windy, side with Sally Jordan. They control a huge cattle stampede by using dynamite.
The sixth of the Hopalong Cassidy films, with the story source credited to Clarence E. Mulford's "Mesquite Jenkins, Tumbleweed", finds Hopalong Cassidy and his young pal, Johnny Nelson, leaving their Bar 20 home range to answer a letter offering them jobs on the Tumbling-L Ranch of Big John Trumbull near Yucca. Before they arrive in town, they save an old wrangler named Windy from drowning, who has been fired on from ambush as he was delivering a valuable stud bull to the depot. Windy, whose sole trusted weapon is a blacksnake whip, tells them he works for the Three-J Ranch adjoining Trumbull's spread. Hoppy and Johnny soon learn that Trumbull's outfit isn't the kind they want to work for, turn down the job offer, and take work with the Three-J, operated by easterner Jim Jordan and his sister Sally. Jordan is planning on fencing in his grazing land, but Trunbull swears this won't happen because, unknown to the other ranchers, Trumbull's men have been driving rustled cattle through a ... Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
Although, as a general rule, the early entries in this series are superior to those produced in the 1940s, "Heart of the West" emerges as one of the least interesting of the Hopalong Cassidys. This one disappointingly treats us to a parade of dull and boring characters engaged in a tiresome plot about a fence war between neighboring ranchers. How many times have we been regaled with that one? True, fascinating characters and clever storytelling can overcome even the most hackneyed themes, but here the problem is not alleviated at all, but compounded by indifferent acting and poor production values.
Technically, the movie also weighs in as second-rate. The sound recording and the dubbing of effects are especially weak, and even Archie Stout's camera-work scales up as far less noticeably impressive than usual (although there is one composition looking through a window that's mildly appealing).
All the action is saved for the final reel. True, if you're prepared to wait for it, the cattle stampede at the climax does perk up the picture a few notches.
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