|WRANGLER'S ROOST (director: S. Roy Luby; screenwriters: story by Earle Snell/John Vlahos/Robert Finkle; cinematographer: Robert Cline; editor: S. Roy Luby; music: Frank Sanucci; cast: Ray "Crash" Corrigan (Himself), John 'Dusty' King (Himself), Max 'Alibi; Terhune (Himself), Forrest Taylor (The Deacon/Black Bart), Gwen Gaze (Molly Collins), George Cheseboro (Miller), Frank Ellis (Brady), Jack Holmes (Joe Collins), Walter Shumway (Grover); Runtime: 60; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Anna Bell Ward; Mill Creek Entertainment; 1941)|
of the better Range Buster vehicles in the Monogram
series, still the plot is shaky."
by Dennis Schwartz
One of the better Range Buster vehicles in the Monogram series, still the plot is shaky. Director S. Roy Luby ("War Dogs"/"Boot Hill Bandits"/"Texas Trouble Shooters") keeps it moving at a fast pace. It's based on the story by Earle Snell and is written by John Vlahos and Robert Finkle, that's loosely based on the historical California bandit named Charles Bolles. He was the gentleman stagecoach robber in the 1870s, who disappeared after his parole in 1888 and no one ever saw him again.
Arizona Territory town of Apache Butte a gentleman
robber of stagecoaches appears following the same
pattern as the infamous non-violent bandit of old known as
Black Bart, except he carries a loaded gun and has
killed a stage driver. The robberies take place ten
years after Black Bart was arrested and served a five
year sentence and was released on patrol. But Bart
never showed for parole, and hasn't been heard from
since and was presumed dead. Since the robberies are
against the Wells Fargo, a top executive (Walter
Shumway) of the
company sends for help from the three marshals known as the
Range Busters--Crash Corrigan, Dusty King and Alibi
Terhune--and informs them he suspects the stage robber
is Black Bart. The executive informs the trio of Black
Bart's gambling superstition over threes, his
politeness during the robberies and of never using a
loaded gun; the Range Busters go separately undercover
to Apache Butte, determined to get their man. Crash
gambles in the El Dorado, a saloon owned by the shady
Miller (George Cheseboro) and Brady (Frank
romances the church going Molly (Gwen Gaze), who also attracts Crash.
Alibi blends into the town as a ventriloquist. At a
town meeting in the school, The Deacon (Forrest
rewarded for getting Molly's father off booze by
having him donate his land so that The Deacon can
build a church. This disturbs Miller and Brady, who
wanted the valuable town lot to expand their
profitable gambling business for when the railroad
will come through.
After some revealing
events, the Range Busters learn the Deacon is indeed
Black Bart and the stage robber is only an imposter
hiding behind Black Bart's reputation to cover his
tracks. Thereby the Range Busters turn their attention
on tracking down the imposter and his partner.
It concludes with the Range Busters solving the case of the stagecoach robberies, and then not going by the book to serve instead 'tender justice with understanding' by not taking the reformed Deacon in as a parole violator.
REVIEWED ON 8/29/2013 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ