After Hoppy helps round up the Trilling gang, Trilling breaks his men out of jail and they rustle the Bar 20 herd for revenge. When Hoppy gets the herd back, Trilling posing as a Marshal not only gets the herd again, he gets the Sheriff to jail the Bar 20 gang. Getting help from the Sheriff's daughter, Hoppy and pals start out once more after Trilling. Written by
Maurice VanAuken <email@example.com>
HOPPY SOLVES A MYSTERY! It took plenty of fast riding and split-second shooting to uncover the mysterious outlaw who terrorized the West...but Hoppy does it in one of his most exciting adventures of his life!
Although Mystery Man is no contender for the best Hopalong Cassidy movie ever made, it is definitely among the better movies in the series. The action moves from one city to the next as Hoppy drives a herd of Bar 20 cattle to its destination. This parallels the story as it moves steadily toward its climax.
The villain, Bud Trilling (Don Costello), is introduced to the viewer early on, but Hoppy and the law do not expose Trilling until the end. During the course of the movie Trilling is a faceless villain who is able to enter towns and encounter sheriffs without fear of recognition. During a bank holdup by Trilling's gang, Hoppy, California, and Jimmy join the fight against the bank robbers. Jimmy's life is saved by a visiting young lady named Diane Newhall (Eleanor Stewart). She explains that her father taught her how to shoot and that he is the sheriff in the same town where Jimmy will be at the end of his cattle drive. This brief meeting pays off later in the movie. Trilling works up a scheme to steal both the Bar 20 herd and the money at the end of the trail while leaving Hoppy and his men at the mercy of the law.
No one stays put in Mystery Man. As soon as there is enough action in the first town, the story moves on to the cattle drive. During the cattle drive there is one musical performance which is rare in a Hopalong Cassidy movie, but it fits the scene well. Events along the way keep the story interesting then move to the last destination. There is no tired feeling from too much action in one place.
With a bigger budget this could have been a great movie.
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