|Index||5 reviews in total|
In the days of the Texas Republic, Rangers Roy Rogers and Gabby Hayes
are sent by a renegade General to collect a toll from travelers just
outside Texas' border. In order to prevent bloodshed, the reluctant duo
try to collect the money from a female wagon master, using more tactful
methods than their replacements would have, causing even more problems.
A fairly lethargic production, the story just doesn't give off much sparks this time around as I would have liked. The action scenes aren't very hot either.
Roy and Gabby are still likable though and leading lady Julie Bishop is very attractive. However, there isn't much chemistry between her and Rogers. George Hayes and old-timer Si Jenks fair much better in that department!
Still, it's not Roy's worst, but he's definitely done a lot better.
I think if it hadn't been for the characters of Gabby (Gabby Hayes) and
Purdy (Si Jenks), this film wouldn't have been very watchable. After
all, the plot didn't always make sense. Another thing that didn't make
sense was how the old Roy Rogers films were hacked to pieces to shorten
them for TV slots. In this particular case, it was worse than usual in
this regard, as Roy Rogers and the lady (Julie Bishop) begin hating
each other for no reason--because their first meeting was cut out of
the film! Seeing her suddenly treating him like dirt made her seem
insane to say the least.
The story is set in the Republic of Texas in the 1830s. The President, Sam Houston, is away in Washington. In his place, an crooked despot is ignoring the law and exploiting the masses. And, this jerk hopes to kill Houston when he's returning and make himself the leader of Texas. So, it's up to Roy to defeat him and restore justice.
Does all this sound very familiar? Well, it should. It's the plot to Robin Hood and Ivanhoe re-worked (just a tiny bit) along with an irrelevant and difficult to believer plot involving Biship. It's all quite silly but the film has one thing going for it--the repartee between Gabby and Purdy. I am not trying to be a jerk for saying it, but they seemed just like a couple the way they bickered. And, in the end, when Gabby saw that Roy got the girl, he responds "...better off dead!"--convincing me once and for all that Purdy and Gabby, indeed, had a STRONG gay subtext. I find it hard to believe this was unintentional. But this alone isn't enough reason to seek out this film--it's just not all that good.
By the way, accuracy was never a strong point in Roy Rogers films. In this case, the cowboys all use guns circa 1870 (give or take)--firing bullet after bullet after bullet. For the most part, guns were all single-shot back then. A few RARE revolvers did exist but had to be hand-loaded--a very slow process--especially since a percussion cap needed to be affixed to each chamber as well. So, such gun fights simply weren't possible at that time--not that that ever stopped a B-western! guns were NOT period
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Ranger And The Lady has Roy Rogers and Gabby Hayes as Texas Rangers
and they're having a hard time adjusting to the ways of the acting
president named Joseph LaRue. While President Sam Houston is away in
Washington, DC trying to arrange annexation, this guy LaRue played by
Henry Brandon has got real big ambitions for himself and Texas and a
nasty henchman in perennial western villain Harry Woods to back them
In real and not Hollywood history Sam Houston was the first and third presidents of the Texas Republic and a guy named Mirabeau Lamar on whom LaRue seems to be somewhat based was the second president. He was an actual president a bona-fide elected president not an acting one. He had a lot of ambitions like the LaRue character here, but not the ability to see them through. Good thing he didn't because he wanted an independent Texas Empire all for himself.
Anyway among other things Brandon as LaRue imposes his own tariff on goods passing from Texas to Mexico of which Santa Fe was still a part. Julie Bishop who plays a cowgirl owner of a freight line plays up to Brandon, but has an agenda all her own and it's not incompatible with Roy's and Gabby's.
Nice shootout climax as an attempted assassination of Sam Houston is foiled. History tells us that didn't happen in any event. Roy's singing is down to minimum as the emphasis is on action here.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Considering Gabby Hayes' usual presence in a Roy Rogers flick as
somewhat of a comic relief character, it's a little gruesome here to
see him comparing his Indian scalp collection with that of grizzled
freighter Hank Purdy (Si Jenks). They have a gimmick of trading Gabby's
trail knife back and forth between them based on bets they make along
The main story has Roy and Gabby as a pair of Texas Rangers who attempt to put the squeeze on a seamy stand-in for Texan President Sam Houston, who's off to Washinton to promote statehood. It seemed a bit simplistic for villain Larue (Henry Brandon) to simply declare his authority over territory east of the Rio Grande and start charging a toll tax on anyone coming into Texas. That and forming a trading monopoly on the Santa Fe Trail with Miss Jane Tabor (Jacqueline Wells) at her mere suggestion. Things couldn't have been that easy to pull of, even in the early 1800's, but stuff like this went on all the time in pictures of the era.
We learn early enough in the story that Jane Tabor is really out to avenge the death of her father at the hands of Larue, so the viewer is left on the hook for a while until Captain Colt (Rogers) and Miss Jane team up for real. Sam Houston even shows up at the finale to help the Rangers defeat the bad guys. I got a kick out of that actually, because if you think about it, it would have taken that rider on horseback a couple of months to get to Washington to get hold of Houston, then a few more weeks for him to get back to Texas by stage. Funny, but watching these flicks as a kid back in the day, you never thought about those kinds of things. They would only have gotten in the way of a good time.
Roy Rogers (as Roy Colt) is the Texas Ranger sent to collect, and
Jacqueline Wells (as Jane Tabor) is the Lady who won't pay tolls as
they disagree on Texan/Mexican territory status. Mr. Rogers is assisted
by his trusty sidekick George "Gabby" Hayes (as Gabby) and Ms. Wells
(later more commonly known as Julie Bishop) is assisted by her trusty
sidekick Si "Purdy" Jenks (as Purdy).
Though Rogers is said to be smitten with the Lady Bishop, few sparks fly between them. The more entertaining twosome are the sidekicks - Gabby and Purdy, who get to share a bed! - but, relax, Gabby is just in Purdy's bed to hide-out. The old codgers might have could have elevated the film, if their material was better. Gabby does get to call Bishop a "She-male"; later, she shoots two men, then bows demurely when Rogers gets one. "The Ranger and the Lady" doesn't meet expectations.
*** The Ranger and the Lady (1940) Joseph Kane ~ Roy Rogers, George 'Gabby' Hayes, Julie Bishop
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