One of the most recycled plots of the B-western genre in which a friend/brother of a lawman/Ranger/Mountie is killed by a gang of outlaws, and the lawman/Ranger/Mountie quits his job (as a ...
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One of the most recycled plots of the B-western genre in which a friend/brother of a lawman/Ranger/Mountie is killed by a gang of outlaws, and the lawman/Ranger/Mountie quits his job (as a ruse), turns outlaw (in a fashion) and joins the gang to bring them to justice. Columbia alone made two versions with Buck Jones and also used it for Charles Starrett and Russell Hayden later on. This Universal version (of at least three they did) has Brand Calhoun quitting the Rangers in disgust when his brother, Steve, is killed in a gunfight with the outlaw gang led by Blackie. He stages a few hold-ups and his exploits capture the attention of Blackie and his gang and they, since he is doing better than they are, force him to join them. By doing so, he is able to expose the real leader of the gang as the townsman who is giving the Rangers the most grief over their inability to put an end to the lawlessness. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"Rawhide Rangers" was an entry in the long running Johnny Mack Brown series for Universal in the 1940s.
The story has a gang of outlaws terrorizing the countryside stealing and killing and driving out the local ranchers. A company of under strength Texas Rangers is out to stop them. Among the Rangers is Brand Calhoun (Brown) who is assigned to the case. While trying to prevent a stage holdup, Calhoun's brother Steve (Roy Harris aka Riley Hill) is killed. Calhoun resigns from the Rangers and embarks on a life of crime in competition with the outlaws led by "respectable" citizen Martin (Ed Cassidy - without his trademark moustache) and his henchmen Blackie (Harry Cording) and Dirk (Bob Kortman).
Calhoun is forced to join the outlaws and aid them in their robberies. But has Calhoun really turned to crime? What do you think?
Fuzzy Knight usually rode with Brown in this series as his sidekick, however in this one he spends most of his time trying to steal pies baked by the company cook Sing Lo (Chester Gan). Unusual for series westerns is having the hero showing any romantic affection for anyone other than his horse. But in the Brown series, he often had a romantic (always platonic) lead. In this case, it was Jo-Ann Rawlings (Kathryn Adams) who really had nothing else to do. The female honors go to Nell O'Day as the spunky tom boyish "Patti". The scene where she attacks Cassidy at a meeting is hilarious.
Trying to keep up with the singing cowboy craze of the day, Universal inserted musical numbers into Brown's series. In this case Knight, the KCBS Rangers and The Pickard Family each get to sing a song or two.
"Rawhide Rangers" is a pleasant entertaining series western.
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