Desperadoes of the West (1950) Poster

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OK late-Republic western serial, noteworthy for star Tom Keene
django-119 September 2006
The other review of this 1950 Republic western serial described it as "competent", and I second that. It's solid, features fistfights and gunfights and bar brawls and wagon/horse chases galore, and works well as bread-and-butter western entertainment--kind of like the later Rocky Lane films. The plot involves a collective of rural folk who have some oil leases, which are being sabotaged by evil Easterner I. Stanford Jolley (in an outlandish stovepipe hat, as oily as ever!). The head man for the locals is the great 30s western star Tom Keene, now billed as "Richard Powers" as he was during his 40s/50s supporting actor period. It's great to see the star of OUR DAILY BREAD as the star of a film once again, and he brings a kind of depth and gravitas to the role that the usual late-Republic bland leading men, chosen to match the Republic stunt men, usually lack. The mature Mr. Keene is obviously doubled in the fights A LOT, but that's OK--he's an impressive hero anyway. Roy Barcroft is along for the ride as Jolley's henchman, and such western stalwarts of Dennis Moore (as a workman drinking on the job!) and George Chesebro (as a wagon driver, if I remember correctly) are in small roles and not even billed. As I observed in my review of GOVERNMENT AGENTS VERSUS PHANTOM LEGION, a Republic serial from 1951, there was a kind of generic quality to some of the Republic product in this period (except for those that still had a weirdness quotient, such as JUNGLE DRUMS OF Africa or Canadian MOUNTIES VS ATOMIC INVADERS), but star Keene, the fine supporting cast, and an oilfield setting, make this serial a LITTLE bit different. Fans of "b" westerns or post-World War II Republic serials should find this entertaining and worthwhile, but it may drag a bit for the general audience.
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Okay time killer.
Steve-17122 November 1999
Republic's serial division was running out of steam about the time they made this one. Of interest, as always, is Roy Barcroft as the action heavy...another good, solid performance. Stan Jolley is a suitably oily villain, and heroine Judy Clark actually gets to fire a gun at a critical moment. The poor saloon gets wrecked every other chapter, and the hero is as memorable as last year's breakfast, but there actually is a plot, and most of the cliffhanger endings are good, if reused from other serials. Good deal if at a good sale price...
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Competent Serial from the Republic Thrill Factory
beejer11 July 1999
This serial, like so many others from Republic contains all of the Saturday afternoon requisites - saloon brawls, gunfights, explosions, wagons over the cliff, split second escapes etc. The stuntwork, as always, is state of the art.

The plot matter little as all of the western serials of the period had basically the same plot - hero/heroine in distress, evil (trying to take over the territory) villains, secret hideouts etc.

This serial benefits from the inclusion in the cast of Richard Powers (aka Tom Keene) as the hero and I. Stanford Jolly and the ever-present Roy Barcroft as the villains.

Like so many serials of this period, Desperadoes of the West employed the use of extensive stock footage from earlier productions. Hence you will see the hero and villains often for no reason, change costumes many times throughout the serial,in order for them to match the earlier footage.

A competent serial from the Republic thrill factory.
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