A band of raiders are about to run the Murphys off of their homestead when they are stopped by the Rev. Harding and his sister Vicky. Gang leader Duke Flinders is about to shoot Harding ... See full summary »
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A band of raiders are about to run the Murphys off of their homestead when they are stopped by the Rev. Harding and his sister Vicky. Gang leader Duke Flinders is about to shoot Harding when the Durango Kid appears and runs off the outlaws. Steve Ransom is persuaded by the townspeople to beome their Marshal. He soon learns that saloon owner Blaze Howard and Doc Weston are behind the raids and plot to gain the homesteads. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In the final fight The Durango Kid shoots at a villain on the ground. It is quite apparent that his shot would have missed by a considerable distance. However, the villain clutches his right shoulder as if shot. See more »
The Durango Kid (Charles Starrett) rides into the town of Dusty Gulch to find helpless homesteaders being run off of their property. He finds an ally in a preacher (Tex Harding) who is determined stand up for the homesteaders against a greedy saloon owner and loan shark, Blaze Howard (John Calvert), whose plan is to take over all of their land. Durango's alter ego Steve Ranson also has a personal interest in seeing the land grabber go to justice as he was involved in killing his brother, a formal Marshal of the town. Among Durango's buddies are Bob Wills and the whole of his Texas Playboys; Bob Wills even has a part, though he mostly just stands there and smiles.
Directed by second unit man Vernon Keays, who went into direction for a spell in the mid-1940s, "Lawless Empire" is well edited and reasonably well made, though gaffes of various kinds abound, not the least of which is that Bob Wills' high stepping, jazzy music does not coordinate in the least with the circa 1870 time frame suggested in the opening titles. The music is all terrific, and there is quite a bit of it; the story stands still while Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys play their numbers complete. "Lawless Empire" tremendously entertaining, and I only took it one point off a "7" simply because it lacks suspense; you know that the Marshall and the Durango Kid are one and the same very early on, and that the bad guys -- neither large in number, particularly bright or very tough -- have a hard row to hoe to win this one. One the bad guys, Duke (Ethan Laidlaw), wins points for both being the most threatening and yet most sympathetic of the men on Blaze Howard's team. Dub Taylor is on board to bring comic relief, and his stunt gags are pretty good, but overall there is plenty of action and music to make this one worth its oats. Just not much in the way of surprise.
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