This film was produced and released in 1944 by Film Enterprises for the 16mm school-and-institutional market, and was picked up and released in 1948 by Astor for theatrical 35mm showings. ...
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This film was produced and released in 1944 by Film Enterprises for the 16mm school-and-institutional market, and was picked up and released in 1948 by Astor for theatrical 35mm showings. Both versions finds the citizens of Rockford upset over a series of murders and robberies. The Sundowners, Andy Clyde (Andy Clyde), Jay Kirby (Jay Kirby) and Russ Wade (Russell Wade), ride into Rockford and innocently takes jobs with Tug Wilson (Jack Ingram) and his tough crew of line riders, who are in cahoots with Yeager (Hal Price) in a big land swindle scheme. The Sundowners fight their way out of Wilson's camp, and seeing a runaway, give chase and rescue Donna Fraser (Evelyn Finley, who, in the real world, could outride all three of them), daughter of Dan Fraser (Steve Clark), who owns the land Yeager is after. They join forces with local Ranger Bob Casey (Marshall Reed) against the Wilson/Yeager faction. Seeking to escape, Wilson kills Yeager, kidnaps Donna and heads for the Mexican border. The... Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
Sundown Riders was a film held up in release for four years. Usually that's the sign it's a real stinker. Citizen Kane it ain't, but I've seen worse.
This was the era of the triple hero western that was inaugurated by the Hopalong Cassidy series. After that western fans got treated to the 3 Mesquiteers, the Rough Riders, the Range Busters, etc. To me it was obvious that someone planned yet another trio of cowboy heroes. Although it varied it was usually two younger guys as the hero and a third as comic relief.
So it was with The Sundowners who were to be introduced in Sundown Riders. The two action guys were Russell Wade and Jay Kirby, comic relief was Andy Clyde. Clyde as California Carlson was comic relief on the Hopalong Cassidy series and Kirby was one of the young sidekicks for Hoppy as well.
The guys initially take jobs with an outlaw gang of rustlers, but realize they're not with nice people switch sides and in the end help bring them to justice. The plot of a gazillion B westerns.
I suspect that Andy Clyde was using this as a contract negotiating tool with Harry Sherman because he filmed this and kept right on with the Cassidy series until the last film was done in 1948. By that time Wade had left acting for the real estate business so this series was never to be.
Russell Wade is probably best known as Ella Raines's irresponsible and luckless brother in one of John Wayne's best westerns Tall In The Saddle. He had the presence to be a screen cowboy hero. But it was not to be.
Not the greatest production and new ground was hardly broken.
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