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