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Phantom Rancher (1940)

Approved | | Romance, Western | 31 March 1940 (USA)
Cowboy puts on a black mask and a black outfit to fight a gang of land-grabbing crooks.


(as Harry Fraser)


(story) (as Bill Lively), (screenplay) (as Bill Lively)

On Disc

at Amazon




Complete credited cast:
Dorothy Short ...
Henchman Lucke
Sheriff Parker
Dad Markham
Lon, Burton Foreman
Steve Clark ...
Carl Mathews ...
Henchman Hank (as Karl Mathews)
James Sheridan ...
Henchman Joe (as Sherry Tansey)
Tarzan ...


Ken Mitchell arrives to take possession of a ranch left to him by his Uncle Jim. He meets and falls in love with Ann Markham, whose father has been killed by gunmen of rancher Collins, who schemes to gain possession of all the surrounding ranches by foreclosing on their mortgages. Ken is distrusted as his Uncle was unpopular with the local ranchers. Knowing who killed Markham, Ken disguises himself as a masked rider and interrupts Collins' plots continually. As himself, he pretends to go along with the Collins plot to drive a herd of cattle over certain lands, ruining the pastures and, as the masked rider, he visits the ranchers to give them the money needed to pay of their mortgages Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

mortgage | ranch | cowboy | scheme | gang | See All (21) »




Romance | Western


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

31 March 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der geheimnisvolle Reiter  »

Box Office


$15,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


This is one of four Ken Maynard films sold by Colony Pictures in 1940 to the National Broadcasting Company to be telecast on New York's first television station, W2XBS; its earliest documented television broadcast occurred Saturday 8 November 1941 on WNBT (Channel 1), and it was re-broadcast Sunday 10 May 1942 on the same station. See more »


Henchman Luke: What are you doin' around here?
Ken Mitchell: Tracin' a 32-20 rifle. I'd like to shake hands with the man who killed Markham. 32-20s do a nice neat job.
Henchman Luke: Oh, yeah? The Mitchells are awful smart.
Ken Mitchell: Think I don't know the crack of a 32-20 when I hear it?
Henchman Luke: I'll say you don't. I use a 30-30!
Ken Mitchell: [pulls out a 30-30 slug from his shirt pocket] Thanks for admittin' it.
See more »

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User Reviews

Okay Ken Maynard Western
20 January 2010 | by (The Lonesome Prairie) – See all my reviews

When Ken Maynard's uncle is murdered, he finds out that the old man was apparently a ruthless land baron and moneylender, who cheated and/or destroyed the other landowners in the area. Ken tries to make amends by pretending to go along with the gang that held sway over his uncle and by highlighting as the Phantom Rancher in order to help the put-upon farmers and thwart the bad guys.

As far as Saturday matinée westerns go, Phantom Rancher is okay entertainment, but not really very action packed in it's first half. When Ken puts on the mask though, things pick up and the climax is pretty good.

At this point in his career, Maynard was noticeably older and a bit heavier. However, he still had presence enough to pull off a decent performance, though he may have benefited from wearing a duster over his tight-fitted shirt.

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