Gangster Chandler and his accomplice Tracy arrive at a dude ranch. Cowboy Kentucky arrives at the same time. When Tracy double-crosses his boss and has the stage robbed, Kentucky finds the outlaws and brings them in. Tracy frames him for the murder of the driver but his pal Cactus gets him out of jail. He returns just as Chandler shoots Tracy and Kentucky finds himself arrested for another murder.Written by
Maurice VanAuken <email@example.com>
This film is essentially Gene Autry's screen test. After Ken Maynard's quarrelsomeness got him fired by Mascot Pictures' head Nat Levine, Autry won his first starring role in The Phantom Empire (1935), originally intended to star Maynard. Many years later Autry quietly helped support Maynard when he was old, broke and alcoholic. See more »
Man snubbing Kentucky who was trying to sell him western gear. "I don't wish to look like a fool." "My mistake, my mistake, but I don't think the clothes would make any difference."
I wonder how many horses were lamed filming that. Just horrible. Nobody in his or her right mind would put a horse through the race. But that was some fantastic riding. The plot shows what a trip wire could do to a horse and yet they surely used trip wires for the falls. I got an extra appreciation for the danger of the runaway stage stunt when I learned of a re-creation trail ride a few years ago where the team of a wagon was spooked and one of the horses died after getting entangled backwards in the harness.
Odd that someone named Kentucky didn't even try for a KY accent. :) I went to a Ken Maynard film festival in Columbus, IN, put on by a family member. I'd never heard of him before that. We saw some of his silent movies. It's interesting that a boy from Vevay, IN, could perform in carnivals and circuses then go west and become a trick rider with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, a circus rider with Ringling Brothers, and have a career in Hollywood. He also managed to squeeze in a stint with the army in WWI, apparently escaping being crippled or traumatized.
It was an exciting time for an adventurous soul. Cole Porter from Peru, IN, born only four years earlier than Ken, went the opposite direction and took NYC by storm. (He, however, wasn't as lucky with his horse, poor guy.)
The mingling of the sophistication of the cities with the still fairly primitive conditions of the West and Great Plains made for excellent contrasts in early westerns. It gave the audience the feeling that they could go there and have amazing things happen to them, too. It was part fantasy and part advertisement.
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