DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews

THE GUNMAN FROM BODIE (director: Spencer Gordon Bennet; screenwriters: Adele Buffington (as Jess Bowers); cinematographers: Allen Thompson/Harry Neumann; editor:  Carl Pierson; music:  Edward Kay; cast: Buck Jones (Marshal Buck Roberts/Bob "Bodie" Bronson), Tim McCoy (Marshal McCall), Raymond Hatton (Sandy Hopkins), Robert Frazer (Wyatt), Ed Brady (Crane, Wyatt's bookkeeper), Christine MacIntyre (Alice Borden), David O'Brien (Joe Martin), Charles King (Steve), Lynton Brent (Red), Max Waizman (Sheriff Cox), John Merton (Bill Cook), Frank LaRue (Jud Mason); Runtime: 63; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Scott R. Dunlap; Mill Creek Entertainment; 1941)

"This so-so Ranger episode involves killer rustlers who are land-grabbers and has the three marshals appearing to be strangers, as one goes undercover to infiltrate the gang."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Spencer Gordon Bennet ("Devil Goddess"/"The Bounty Killer"/"Killer Ape") directs without distinction this typical formulaic "Rough Riders" oater. This so-so Ranger episode involves killer rustlers who are land-grabbers and has the three marshals appearing to be strangers, as one goes undercover to infiltrate the gang. It's written by Jess Bowers, aka Adele Buffington.

Marshal Buck Roberts (Buck Jones) poses as wanted outlaw "Bodie" Bronson, who is pursued by Marshal McCall (Tim McCoy). Buck discovers an orphan boy infant in the Gibbs ranch, where his parents were killed by the rustlers and mom in a note identifies the killer as Bill Cook (John Merton). The third Rough Rider is Sandy Hopkins (Raymond Hatton), who poses as the new cook on the ranch owned by Alice Borden (Christine MacIntyre), who takes possession of the ranch after her dad was killed by rustlers. He was killed on a night when the rustlers went on a rampage and killed over ten ranchers, and have scared the honest ranch-hands off. The oily head of the Larabie Water Company and real estate lawyer, Wyatt (Robert Frazer), has power of attorney over Borden's estate and has hired his own thugs as replacements. Wyatt wants Alice to sell at a cheap price to her slimy neighbor rancher Jud Mason (Frank LaRue), someone Wyatt is secretly partners with to take over the ranches in the valley. But the feisty Alice says no and hires her childhood romantic interest Joe Martin (David O'Brien) to be her new foreman. The lad's cowboy father was also killed by rustlers, and wants to badly get his killers. Meanwhile Buck leaves the little shaver with Alice, as she's the nearest ranch to the Gibbs place.

When Bodie infiltrates the gang run by Wyatt and Mason, he uncovers that the weasel sheriff (Max Waizman) works for Wyatt, that Wyatt's flunky bookkeeper (Ed Brady) is also in on the rustling scheme and that Steve (Charles King) is the vicious field boss of the rustlers.

As expected, the marshals accomplish their mission and all the baddies get arrested before they can rustle another rancher. Problem is that after the opening scene there's no suspense, just a rote pursuit of the banal baddies.

REVIEWED ON 9/6/2013       GRADE: C+

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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