Code of the Cactus (1939) Poster

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Great cast, good script and story
Michael Morrison13 January 2009
Even though the version I was watching had a big bite taken out -- apparently at least one reel missing -- this was an exciting and very well done Western movie.

Starring Tim McCoy, one of the best of the cowboys, "Code of the Cactus" had a sterling cast, with such shining lights as Art Davis and Kermit Maynard among the uncredited.

Usually, I don't like mixing horses and trucks; it seems anachronistic.

This time, though, there is no conflict of eras or settings, and everything fits together.

It had been a long time since I had seen Col. Tim, and though I already knew he was a great cowboy, it turns out he's a pretty good actor, too.

And Art Davis, who has starred in some dismal features, showed here he could by gosh sing.

Too often, low-budget features limit the number of speaking parts, but "Code of the Cactus" has a plenitude of characters given a chance to show that, yes, they might be villains, but they're people too, and have their own individual personalities.

Ben Corbett is someone of whom I had known nothing, but he is obviously a talented actor.

My hero Dave O'Brien is here too, and even a bad movie is made better by his presence.

This is already a good movie, and Dave O'Brien with Tim McCoy makes it even a great movie.

I just hope that, when you get to watch it, it's all there.
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Truck Rustlers
bkoganbing20 April 2012
A poverty row outfit called Victory Pictures brings us Code Of The Cactus which true B western tradition has a title with nothing whatsoever to do with the film. Bette Davis in The Bride Came COD did more with cactus than this film did.

Code Of The Cactus is a modern day western where as they say cattle rustling has gone comparatively modern with the rustlers using trucks to take their stolen cattle. You have to keep up with the times, but the people in the west have the same code to deal with varmints caught rustling, string them up with out a trial.

Despite these draconian threats the rustlers operate with impunity so Tim McCoy better known as Lightnin' Bill Carson comes to the rescue. He's got a draw faster than Gene Wilder's in Blazing Saddles and McCoy handles the part the same way, very tongue in cheek.

But what really raises this horse opera a notch or two above the run of the mill ones is McCoy's droll way with this part as he uses a disguise as a Mexican fast draw artist and amiable thief. I think he might have studied Gilbert Roland in how to play the role.

Check this one out for sure, you won't be disappointed.
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Exceptional for what is it...and rather funny.
MartinHafer18 March 2011
Warning: Spoilers
My score of 8 reflects that this is a wonderful B-series western--a genre that is usually typified by low production values and silly plots. For once, this is a film that breaks this mold and has a bit more to offer. Even if you don't normally watch this sort of film, this one is worth a look--especially to see Tim McCoy's wonderful performance.

Like so many of these series films, this one is very anachronistic--with cowboys and the like set in modern times. The plot involves mobster cattle rustlers who use trucks to steal cows! And, again in a modern twist, this is so they can sell the cattle to the government. As I said, it is weird to see such modern plots with the old look of the west.

Tim McCoy plays a federal agent who is being sent to investigate the thefts. However, in a very unusual twist, McCoy heads into action under cover--really, really undercover. He poses as a Mexican bandit and at first I didn't even recognize him because the outfit, makeup and his accent were really able to pull it off. Imagine, a cowboy hero like McCoy actually being able to act--now THAT's unusual. Some, I am sure, might be a bit put off my McCoy's broad Leo Carillo-style characterization, but I loved it--he was very funny and I didn't mind that he wasn't all that subtle because it worked.

As a result of McCoy's excellent acting(!) and a rather interesting script, I could ignore the anachronistic nature of the film and. I just sat back and enjoyed--far more than I ever expected. For fans of the genre- this is definitely a must-see--and, believe it or not, much more interesting than any Roy Rogers or Gene Autry film I've seen!

By the way, since watching this film, I saw McCoy play the same character in other films. Oddly, the first of these films is called "The Return of Lightning Carson"!
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A McCoy winner - humorous and highly entertaining
Paularoc20 June 2012
Tim McCoy as "Lightening" Bill Carson poses as a Mexican rustler in order to catch the leader of a gang of rustlers. The leader Blackton (Forrest Taylor) has submitted the low beef bid to the army – the thing is he can't provide the beef for as low as he bid without stealing the cattle. The setting is contemporary and the rustlers use trucks to haul off the cattle. This is the second McCoy movie that I have seen where he disguises himself as a Mexican. Again, he pulls it off. It's funny but when McCoy is in disguise his personality shines – he smiles more, laughs more and is more animated with fewer of the steely eyed stares. He still never aims his gun when he shoots though. As much as I enjoyed this movie it did not have as interesting a supporting cast as other McCoys I've seen. Dave O'Brien was okay but to me, nothing special. Nonetheless, this is a B Western to be on the lookout for as it is highly entertaining.
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