When Moreland's henchman attack Bob Horner the Range Busters break it up. Horner dies but they get the baby Moreland was after. He must have it to become it's guardian and take control of the Horner ranch. When the henchmen catch up with Alibi, they take the baby cradle not realizing Alibi has substituted his dummy Elmer. Crash having evidence Moreland is the one they want, now has a plan to expose him. Written by
Maurice VanAuken <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"You couldn't catch cold in a barrel of ice water..."
This was the second in a series of Range Busters films beginning in 1940 featuring a trio of cowboy heroes - Ray 'Crash' Corrigan, John 'Dusty' King, and Max 'Alibi' Terhune. Max's wooden dummy Elmer Sneedweed got an opening credit as well, and got quite a bit of screen time in this one. He was most effective as the stand in for the baby the bad guys thought they were kidnapping for their boss Jim Moreland (Roy Barcroft). The baby was central to the plot, as Moreland needed to be officially declared it's ward in order to take control of the Bar-H Ranch owned by the baby's father who was murdered in the picture's opening scene. The story was a bit of a head scratcher for me because the baby's mother was never alluded to in the entire story. Instead, Horner had a sister back at the Bar-H trying to protect the family ranch against the designs of the bad guys.
Beyond that, the film is a fairly standard entry in the Range Busters series, as the good guys narrow down their prospects and set up Moreland and his henchmen for the fall. A key ingredient of Moreland's plan was a letter assigning him effective control of the Bar-H once he secured a gravel contract worth fifty thousand dollars. Eventually, Corrigan confiscates the letter and has the proof he needs to put the baddies away for good.
The picture uses comedy relief to good effect courtesy of Max Terhune and his buddy Elmer. In one scene, Max takes great pains to diaper the baby, only to have it fall off immediately when he picks the baby up. Another time he does some fancy bird whistles that sounded pretty good to my ear, but the best trick of all on the part of The Range Busters was making dummies out of the bad guys by the end of the picture.
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