Before he was killed by Mark Foster's men, Bud Lawton willed part ownership in his ranch to Hoppy and his two pals. When the three arrive they find a fake posing as Lawton. When they expose the imposter, Foster gets the Sheriff to jail them for Lawton's murder. Written by
Maurice VanAuken <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The forty-ninth of sixty-six Hopalong Cassidy movies. See more »
[to his henchmen]
... don't forget, no matter how foolproof a thing might be, one wrong move might ruin everything, so be on your toes, all of you.
[to the other gang members after Foster has left]
I certainly got to hand it to the boss. The whole thing is foolproof.
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The first half is outdoors with some spectacularly moody vistas of the snow-covered Sierras. Just as impressive are those great shots of the many weird boulders covering the Alabama Hills. This is familiar territory for Hoppy and the boys, but it's never been more visually impressive.
There's some good action during this first part as Hoppy tries to prevent bad guy Foster (Dumbrille) from cheating a young brother and sister (Seidel & Drake) from their ranch inheritance. The second half moves indoors as Foster's scheme draws Hoppy and the boys out of the hills and into town. Too bad, in my little book, they couldn't keep this second half outdoors too.
It's a more notable cast than usual. Dumbrille, of course, is a veteran baddie from many an A-production, while hulking thugs Barcroft and Strange get rare speaking parts. Leading lady Drake would soon appear in that most nourish of noir classics, Detour (1945). But most notable is Bob Mitchum promoted into one of his first speaking partscatch how well he acts with his eyes at the poker table. No wonder he was emerging from the crowd of cowboy extras. And for a minute, it looked like actor Seidel would be one of the few in Hollywood to get killed twice in the same movie!
There're the usual action staples-- some hard riding and a couple of really energetic fist-fights to keep things from getting too talky. I guess my only complaint concerns sidekick Jimmy Rogers. I agree with reviewer Don W that he's an inept presence, who unfortunately rather resembles a young Jimmy Durante. Wisely, the screenplay downplays his romance with the personality-plus Drake.
Anyway, the 60-minutes adds up for me as half-of-a-good Hoppy.
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