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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
After catching a handful of Hoppy films over the last couple of weeks
I'm beginning to rely on his stories to introduce elements I haven't
seen before in a Western. For example in this one, Cassidy takes part
in a rigged card game against a character calling himself the Baron
(Morris Ankrum), and discards an Ace while holding three others in a
hand he's dealt. Figuring the Baron is setting him up to lose against a
straight flush, Hoppy winds up with the nine and ten of spades that the
Baron would have been dealt if Hoppy stayed fast. It was a clever ruse
to put one over on the outlaw, and fortunately, I didn't need to have
it explained a couple of times like Cassidy's sidekick Speedy (Britt
From there, Hoppy's winnings are stolen by the Baron's henchmen, and wouldn't you know it, the bills show up later when the Baron shows up to put a down payment on some race horses he's buying, but Hoppy marked the bills so he has him dead to rights. In fact he told Speedy - "You know, I have a hunch that money's comin' right back to us". You might think Cassidy wrote the script here.
The business with Colonel Rufe White (Wright Kramer) was a puzzler though. He bilked his niece Sue Willard (Jan Clayton) out of her mother's inheritance, but was one of Hoppy's pals who was on hand to make sure he wasn't swindled by the Baron. He takes a heart attack midway through as a convenient way for Sue to get her ranch back, but it didn't seem to me she even knew about it. Very strange.
Say, keep an eye out for a sign above the bar in the Silver Dollar Saloon - 'No Liquors Served to Minors or Indians'! Better yet, keep an eye on that tricked out hay wagon the Baron had fixed up to make off with the race horses! You have to give these guys credit for creativity!
Well this time Hoppy's pal Lucky (Russell Hayden) gets the girl even though he had to pout his way through the story to do so. Hoppy's such an understanding guy he just knows things will work out in the end. Also on hand were The King's Men as singing cowhands, but this time out they didn't earn their pay - they didn't sing!
Morris Ankrum who appeared in several Hopalong Cassidy movies does this
one with a touch of the continental. He arrives at Wright Kramer's
horse farm with a nice European accent passing himself off as Baron.
This baron is really a horse thief, but he's got a pair of quality race
horses involved here and he wants them to disguise and help fix races
and clean up on bets.
At the same time young Jan Clayton arrives saying she's Kramer's long lost niece. Coincidence or not? It's up to Hopalong Cassidy and Lucky and Speedy to sort it out, or at least Hoppy to and the others follow his lead.
That might not be easy for Lucky Jenkins. He's more impulsive and headstrong than normal in this Cassidy feature. In real life Russell Hayden was married to Jan Clayton at the time.
A good Hoppy feature with Hayden especially standing out.
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