The town of Panamint is being controlled by Kirby and Blake who are trying to drive out all the prospectors so they can obtain all their land, but are opposed by the Riders of Death Valley, a group led by Jim Benton opposed to the oppression caused by Kirby and Blake. An old prospector, Chuckawalla Charlie, leaves one half of a claim on a gold mine, The Lost Aztec, which is richer than any other mine discovered. The mine is shared also with Charlie's niece Mary, who goes searching for the mine (based on Charlie's map) with Jim and the rest of the riders. Blake sends Wolfe Reade and his outlaws to get the map giving the location of the mine, but after Jim, Mary, and the riders find it, Blake & Kirby get Wolfe to sabotage their efforts of getting the lode mined, smeltered, and assayed, while Kirby tries obtains the bank note Jim took out to pay for the work on the mine, while also framing Jim and Tombstone (fellow rider) of the murder of the banker. This "million dollar serial" is just advertising and nowhere near the effort Universal put into Flash Gordon, but for B western fans this serial is a treat. Foran makes a good hero, but I would have rather seen Buck Jones assume his role rather than be regulated to a sidekick. Blaine and Blue are okay as Kirby and Blake, but the screenplay could have just merged the two characters into one. Bickford is great as Wolfe playing the role with a nastiness that should be in every western and serial. The serial seems a bit too involved at times as well. Rating, based on serials, 7.
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