Marshal Johnnie Taggart (Jon Hall) , posing as an outlaw named "Ace" Braddock, comes to Bannack, Montana to restore law and order. But he is recognized by Kitty (Margaret Lindsay) , co-owner with Clay Curtwright (Robert Wilcox) of the infamous Bull Whip saloon. But "bad-girl" Kitty keeps her mouth shut. When Johnnie's pal Andy (Andy Devine) reports a stage holdup, Curtwright's henchman, Ben Borden (Jack Lambert), talks the sheriff and Judge Holden (Jonathan Hale) into suspecting Johnnie. Johnnie reveals himself to Judge Holden as a government marshal, and the judge voices his opinion that Curtwright is the leader of the road agents, but voices it in the presence of his granddaughter, Louise Holden (Paula Drew). The Judge doesn't know that Louise is in love with Curtwright, and she tips him off as to Johnnie's real identity. Curtwright frames Johnnie for a murder and arranges for the crooked sheriff to promote a lynching and Andy and Kitty help Johnnie escape jail. Johnnie rounds up ... Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Yet another variation on the stock Western ingredients of stranger-in-town with comic sidekick, saloon girl contrasting with respectable girl (or is she?), saloon co-owner running a gang, with sheriff in his pay.
Jon Hall (seldom seen on UK TV) reminded me of a less-rugged Randolph Scott, and Margaret Lindsay (hitherto unknown to me)of a slightly-mellow Barbara Stanwyck. Both do reasonably well.
The unsung hero is Andy Devine's horse, which takes his overweight rider to safety in a chase which entails jumping over a fence that deters most of the pursuers. Incidentally at first I thought his curious snoring after he'd walked into town was something more offensive.
The plot creaks a little. It remains unclear to me whether Devine was merely an old friend of Hall's who happened to be on the stagecoach at the beginning or whether he was heading into town to help him. Paula Drew's change of loyalty is a little hard to swallow, but does provide a twist. Also making me blink was the arrival at the end of perhaps sixty vigilantes who came together very quickly indeed from outside town. I presume these had been active in suppressing outlaws in the past. Until they charge into town, I had thought that the current bad guys numbered barely half-a-dozen, but all the patrons of the villain's saloon mount a short-lived resistance to the vigilantes.
"Flashing color" says one tagline; in fact it's Cinecolor, which at times is almost monochromic.
Nice to see Jack Lambert and Bob Wilke among the bad guys, and one day I must really identify Lane Chandler, whose name appears near the bottom of screen credits in so many Westerns of this period.
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