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Perils of the Wilderness (1956)

In the 56th (and next-to-last serial) made by Columbia Pictures, Montana Deputy Dan Lawson, posing as an outlaw called Laramie, goes to the Canadian northwest on the trail of Bart Randall ... See full summary »


(as Spencer G. Bennet)


(story), (screenplay)


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Stars: Jock Mahoney, Virginia Herrick, William Fawcett


Cast overview:
Deputy Marshal Dan Mason, aka Laramie
Richard Emory ...
Sergeant Gray
Evelyn Finley ...
Donna Blaine (as Eve Anderson)
Kenneth MacDonald ...
Bart Randall (as Kenneth R. MacDonald)
Little Bear
John Elliott ...
Homer Lynch
Terry Frost ...
Al Ferguson ...
Bud Osborne ...
Rex Lease ...
Sergeant Jim Rodney
Pierce Lyden ...
John Mitchum ...


In the 56th (and next-to-last serial) made by Columbia Pictures, Montana Deputy Dan Lawson, posing as an outlaw called Laramie, goes to the Canadian northwest on the trail of Bart Randall who is wanted for murder and bank robbery in the states. In Canada, Randall is a little more upscale and uses a hydra-plane and a fake totem to over-awe the Indians. Laramie is aided in his search by RCMP Sergeant Gray and by Donna Blane, who is suspected at first of giving information to Randall, but who is actually a Canadian secret agent investigating Randall's gun-trading with the Indians. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


ADVENTURE RIDES THE RANGE! (Chapter 4 Title Card-all caps) See more »


Action | Western


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

6 January 1956 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Chapter Titles:
  • 1. The Voice From the Sky

  • 2. The Mystery Plane

  • 3. The Mine of Menace

  • 4. Ambusg For a Mountie

  • 5. Laramie's Desperate Chance

  • 6. Trapped in the Flaming Forest

  • 7. Out of the Trap

  • 8. Laramie Rides Alone

  • 9. Menace of the Medicine Man

  • 10. Midnight Marauders

  • 11. The Falls of Fate

  • 12. Rescue From the Rapids

  • 13. Little Bear Pays a Debt

  • 14. The Mystery Plane Flies Again

  • 15. Laramie Gets His Man

See more »

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User Reviews

late Columbia western serial, lots of action, good in small doses
21 December 2003 | by (south Texas USA) – See all my reviews

***SOME SPOILERS*** This is the second-to-last Columbia serial, and one of the last American serials at all, as Republic closed up its serial production around the same time. Like most all of the Sam Katzman-produced serials at Columbia, this is 15 chapters long, and like most 15 chapter serials, the material gets a bit thin after a while. However, from the perspective of the budget-minded Mr. Katzman, it was no doubt a good investment to shoot a day or two more and get three more weeks of product. After all, considering 15 chapters versus 12 chapters, if you make four of the longer serials, you've got the same number of weeks of theatrical showings as FIVE 12 chapter serials, so it's like you've got a "free" serial...almost! When we watch serials today we should remember that 1) no one ever watched these things straight through, they saw them in pieces over three or four months; and 2) most theatre goers did not see all 15 chapters. The most regular theatregoers might have, but according to my older relatives who actually did see serials in the 30s-50s, they might see 5-7 chapters of a 15 chapter serial. So re-caps and "overlapping action" were not a problem to the viewers of the day. With that said, this is not a bad serial, certainly not as bad as we are led to believe by the commentators who have labelled all of Katzman's serials as garbage. Many of the non-western ones have a great "pulp" quality to them that is worthy of, say, a Charlton comic. Also, they have a fascinating z-grade ambience to them. We should remember that Ed Wood and Jerry Warren were aspiring to make a film AS GOOD AS The Lost Planet or Blackhawk. Dennis Moore, who had been starring in low-budget films for two decades when he made this (he was even in a Bud'n'Ben short in the thirties, West on Parade, and was in such exploitation films as Rebellious Daughters and Sunset Strip Murder Case), is always a convincing leading man, here playing a lawman masquerading as an outlaw on the run. The rest of the cast is a who's who of b-westerns worthy of a late 40s/early 50s Johnny Mack Brown or Charles Starrett vehicle: Kenneth McDonald, Rex Lease, Rick Vallin (a regular in these Columbias), Pierce Lyden, John Mitchum, Terry Frost, etc. Also, unless I'm mistaken, we see Kermit Maynard in a mountie uniform again (a nice touch!), and John Hart's unique voice is heard, immediately identifying him in an unbilled role. This also used the plot device of the bad guys tricking the Indians with modern technology, which I remember being used by the bad guys in Tom Mix's THE MIRACLE RIDER in 1935. I saw on the Serial Squadron discussion list that this film incorporates stock footage from earlier Columbia serials, but I haven't seen the serials mentioned for years, so I didn't recognize the scenes, although most post-1945 Republic serials used a good amount of stock footage, and the serial fan will quickly realize that flashbacks involving characters not seen otherwise in the film or expensive shots of battles or wagons falling of cliffs seen only in long shots are probably stock footage. Who knows if Columbia will ever release, or license for release by another company, serials such as this one. Your only hope of seeing this is probably to find someone who has made a video copy of a 16mm print. However, if you collect Columbia serials, you'll probably like this one. It's nice to know that Columbia was still releasing watchable product until its final days as a serial producer. Now I'll have to re-watch the final Columbia serial, BLAZING THE OVERLAND TRAIL, which co-starred Dennis Moore and was from the same director-writer-producer team. Haven't watched it in 10 years or more...

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