Desert Bandit (1941)

Approved  |   |  Action, Western  |  24 May 1941 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.5/10 from 21 users  
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Hatfield has his henchman Largo and gang smuggling guns across the border. When guns are smuggled past Ranger Martin, Martin is jailed. The Sheriff, a crony of Hatfield, lets Martin out, ... See full summary »



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Complete credited cast:
Bob Crandall, Texas Ranger
Lynn Merrick ...
Sue Martin
William Haade ...
James Gillette ...
Tim Martin
Dick Wessel ...
Henchman Hawk
Tom Chatterton ...
Texas Ranger Captain Banning
Texas Ranger Ordway
Robert Strange ...
Charles R. Moore ...
T-Bone Jones
Ernie Stanton ...
Sheriff Warde


Hatfield has his henchman Largo and gang smuggling guns across the border. When guns are smuggled past Ranger Martin, Martin is jailed. The Sheriff, a crony of Hatfield, lets Martin out, shoots him, and blames the escape attempt on Bob Crandall. Kicked out of the Rangers, Crandall joins Largo's gang. Written by Maurice VanAuken <>

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A Thunderbolt Out Of The West! See more »


Action | Western


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

24 May 1941 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


[Tim shoots the gun out of Hawk's hand when the henchman tries to shoot Bob in the back]
Tim Martin: Hello, Bob.
Largo: [to Hawk] Aw, hold still. It's only a crease.
Tim Martin: How do you like my new gun?
Bob Crandall: Shoots right were you aim it, don't it.
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Remade as Riders of the Deadline (1943) See more »

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User Reviews

Typical Don 'Red' Barry oater, which means good flick with plenty of action
6 April 2006 | by (Van Buren, Arkansas) – See all my reviews

Don 'Red' Barry was a feisty little guy who could scrap with the best of them. He was also one of the best actors to appear in B westerns. Barry, called "Red" from playing Red Ryder in a popular serial of the day, even received Academy Award consideration for his role in "The Purple Heart." Being a versatile actor, he could play a six-gun hero in his Republic films from 1940-1944, then play one of the meanest killers ever, in the Wild Bill Elliot film "Plainsman and the Lady." In "Desert Bandits" he gets to play both hero and villain.

Seems that a band of gunrunners is operating out of a town on the Mexican border. The Texas Rangers are hot on their trail. One Texas Ranger, Bob Crandall (Barry), introduces a saddle pal, Tim Martin (James Gillette), to the Ranger commander. Tim is looking for a new start having served with the gunrunners previously. On Crandall's recommendation, Tim becomes a Ranger, but is then framed by his former gang. The crooked sheriff murders Tim while in his custody and tries to put the blame on Crandall. Crandall is given a dishonorable discharge from the Rangers. He proceeds to join the smugglers, headed ostensibly by a big dumb brute called Largo (William Haade)--Largo as in lard head. One of Largo's boys, Hawk (Dick Wessel), is just as dumb and ugly as Largo on a bad day. After a horse-stealing incident Crandall and Hawk have a fuss that turns into a continual personality conflict, leading to all sorts of encounters between the two. The big boss is living in style in town. Only Largo and his gang of cut throats know the boss' identity. Tim's sister Sue (Lynn Merrick) is ambivalent toward Crandall, thinking for a while that he was responsible for her brother's death.

That the action sequences take place at night limits the viewer's ability to see all the chases that occur, and there are some dandies. This is good for those who enjoy more reality in their films, for the gunrunners would be more likely to get caught if they did their dirty work in the daytime.

Unfortunately, there is a stereotyped African-American in the cast who becomes the butt of several racist-oriented jokes, though the final one transcends racial overtones to become truly funny. It seems T-Bone (Charles R. Moore) is serving meat for everyone. While the cowboys are gobbling it all down, in walks a wrangler announcing that his horse is missing. All the table guests look askance. "Have we been eating horse meat?" runs through their minds. Then all is made well as T-Bone relays to those dining that he borrowed the horse to ride and get the meat, not that he cooked the horse.

Postscript: Yes, that's Tom Ewell in a bit part as one of the Texas Rangers several years before he played the husband who itched after Marilyn Monroe.

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