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On his way to Red Mesa to insure mine owners against loss from raids on their ore shipments, George O'Brien is ambushed by the raiders, and is accidentally saved by the Three Stooges who run a traveling variety store. O'Brien sells mine owner John Sawyer and his foreman Sandy Evans on allowing him to insure and guard their shipments since they have no help from the bumbling sheriff. He hires to Stooges, Laura Mason and Doc Mason, Laura's ex-physician-turned-drunk grandfather. O'Brien's first move is to trap the bandits headed by saloon owner Taggart and his henchman Clete by using the Stooges to inform Taggart that O'Brien will escort the gold shipment, but George plans on having the Stooges take the actual shipment in another wagon. His plans backfire when Doc Mason, drunk in Taggart's saloon, accidentally informs Taggart of the real plans. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A strange combination of a typical B-Western and the Three Stooges.
Considering that this film does not have Curly, it automatically loses a couple points. However, much as I dislike Shemp films compared to the Curly ones, they are still miles and miles ahead of the later (ugghh) films with the annoying Joe Besser or the insipid Joe DeRita.
The movie is unusual due to its format. Instead of the usual 20 minute running time, this one comes in at a little under one hour--B-movie length. Now in later years, longer films would be the norm. But her in 1951, it was definitely an anomaly. In this film, the same bad pattern develops that plagued the full-length the Stooges made late in their careers. Instead of being THE show, they are there more as supporting characters. Here, aging cowboy star George O'Brien (playing, of all people a guy named "George O'Brien"!) is an insurance agent out West to protect shipments of ore from bandits. Insanely, he hires the Stooges to help him protect the shipments.
As for the Stooges, to a degree they pretty much do as you'd expect--lots of slapping and eye-gouging and the like. Unfortunately, though, it's like they are guests in another person's film. There is no crazy plot or the usual level of zaniness to the film--making GOLD RAIDERS an amazingly muted film. In fact, it's less like a Three Stooges film and more like a typical B-Western--something O'Brien might have done without the Stooges. Sadly, the craziness I'd hoped would be there wasn't.
You know, I'd sure love to know why this film was made. After years and years of two-reel comedies, this film just seems to come from out of no where. Also, I'd love to know how in the final shootout in the bad that so many shots were fired but so few people got hurt!!
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