Buck arrives in the town where his outlaw twin brother Gil Brady is also located. Benson is after the Todhunter ranch and he has his henchman kill Todhunter. Then he claims Buck is actually Brady and he is the murderer. Buck is saved from the lynch mob by his friend Spud and must now find a way to prove Benson guilty. Written by
Maurice VanAuken <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"Bad Man From Red Butte" (there's another one of those "B" western titles) is a disappointing entry in the long running Universal Johnny Mack Brown series turned out in the early forties. This one is one of the so-called "trio westerns" made to compete with the popular "Three Mesquiteers" series from Republic.
The script pulls this one down in spite of the excellent cast and superior production values. Even Brown playing a dual role fails to save it. Most o f it just doesn't make much sense.
The story starts out with grizzled gunman Gils Brady (omigod its Johnny) shooting it out with town boss Benson (Norman Willis) and his henchmen led by Roy Barcroft and Earle Hodgins. The reasons for this difference of opinion are never explained. Brady is wounded and takes refuge in that ever present line shack.
Into the picture ride our heroes Buck Halliday (Brown again), Gabe Hornsby (Bob Baker) and Spud Jenkins (Fuzzy Knight). Gabe is going to open a law practice, Spud is selling his "magic" hair restorer and Buck is to survey for a new stage coach line. He also gets confused with the fugitive Brady. Some town folk think he's Brady, while others are seemingly oblivious to the similarity. School marm Tibby Mason (Anne Gwynne) arrives in town and apparently becomes Buck's love interest (in a "B" series western?). We know this because they announce their engagement at the end of the story. Baker, Knight and Texas Jim Lewis and the Lone Star Cowboys each get to warble a forgettable song.
Anyway, downtrodden rancher Dan Todhunter (Lafe McKee) along with his young grandson Skip (Bill Cody Jr.) are about to lose their ranch to Benson. Buck arranges a loan with the bank to bail them out. When Benson learns of this, he sends his henchies out to murder him. You see, the stage line Buck is surveying will run through, you guessed it, Todhunter's ranch.
Along the way, Buck just happens to come upon the cabin where Brady is hiding. Well, it turns out that we have another case of good twin, bad twin a concept which is never really developed (i.e. no showdown or fight to the finish). We never really find out why the two went their separate ways. Oh well. And, in the midst of all of this, Buck manages to call a snap election to elect Gabe as the new Justice of the Peace. Johnny and the boys finally bring Benson and his cronies to justice as we knew they would.
Brown was a better actor than many of his contemporaries. This is evident in the scene between the two brothers. Starting out as an "A" list player at MGM in the 20s, Brown settled into a long and prosperous career as a series western star that lated well into the 1950s. Baker had just wound up his own series at Universal but adds little to this film. Knight also enjoyed a long career as comedy relief alternating between "A" and "B" westerns.
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