This was one of the earlier uses of Robert Tansey's favorite plot (only the 3rd time he had trotted it out of the stable, but he got six more films out of it in later years) in which a ...
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This was one of the earlier uses of Robert Tansey's favorite plot (only the 3rd time he had trotted it out of the stable, but he got six more films out of it in later years) in which a group of outlaws (wrongly jailed this time) are let out to join up with the good guys against a worse bunch of outlaws. And, not unusual in the B-western genre, most of the production crew wore several hats; director Robert N. Bradbury and supervisor Lindsley Parsons wrote a song for Tommy Bupp, one of the actually good kid actors of the time who proved real quick-like that singing wasn't his strong suit, while Robert Emmett Tansey worked three jobs under three names... Robert Emmett on story and screenplay, Robert Tansey as the production manager and Al Lane as the assistant director. And, for a change, music director Frank Sanucci actually earned a composers' credit as he did write a song, as opposed to the multi-times some source keeps insisting on crediting him as a composer when he was really the ... Written by
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The guys Hittin' The Trail are Tex Ritter and his sidekick Hank Worden who have a string of horses when they are mistaken for the notorious Tombstone Kid and his outlaw henchman. Of course Tex and Hank are cleared later and the sheriff releases them, but that only gets them in deeper involved in the local outlaw situation.
Either a bad script or bad editing made the plot a bit vague and hard to follow. The film seems to have eschewed Ritter the cowboy hero for Ritter the country and western singing star and musical numbers abound in Hittin' The Trail. It's the saving grace of the film.
It also shows what a bad reputation will get you as the real Tombstone Kid is a convenient place to put blame for all the lawbreaking committed by the film's real villain Earl Dwire who was in many a John Wayne B western for the various companies he worked for in the Thirties. Of course it all gets straightened out in the end, much to the satisfaction of the rancher's daughter Jerry Bergh.
Ritter's film career might have been better served had he been one of Republic's stable of cowboy heroes. As it is this film was done by the shortlived B studio Grand National and the seams do show.
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