DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews

YOUNG BUFFALO BILL (director: Joe Kane; screenwriters: story by Norman Houston/Gerald Geraghty/Harrison Jacobs/Robert Yost; cinematographer: William Nobles; editor: Tony Martinelli; music:  Cy Fuer; cast: Roy Rogers (Buffalo Bill Cody), Gabby Hayes (Gabby), Wade Boteler (Colonel Joe Calhoun), Anna Demetrio (Elena), Chief Thundercloud (Akuna), Hugh Sothern (Don Regas), Pauline Moore (Tonia Regas), Trevor Bardette (Montez), Gaylord Pendleton (Jerry Calhoun), Julian Rivero (Pancho), Estelita Zarco (Dolores); Runtime: 53; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Joe Kane; Mill Creek Entertainment; 1940)

"You're darn tootin', the usual Roy Rogers' hokum Western is afoot."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

You're darn tootin', the usual Roy Rogers' hokum Western is afoot.  Directed in a workmanlike way by Joe Kane ("Thunder Over Arizona"/"The Maverick Queen"/"Gunfire At Indian Gap"), from a story by Norman Houston and a screenplay by Gerald Geraghty, Harrison Jacobs and Robert Yost.

It's set in the 1860s, in the New Mexico territory, where buffalo hunter Buffalo Bill Cody (Roy Rogers) and sidekick, former bugler for the cavalry,  Gabby (Gabby Hayes), trek from Kansas to work in Santa Fe as scouts for Colonel Joe Calhoun (Wade Boteler) of the U.S. Cavalry. He's conducting a land survey on the largest land owner in the territory, Don Regas (Hugh Sothern), who 200 years ago his family was granted the land by the king of Spain and is suspicious of the U.S. government's sudden need for a survey. His fiery attractive daughter Tonia ( Pauline Moore) distrusts the Americans as land-grabbers, and is not convinced the survey is necessary. The Colonel's eastern raised son Jerry (Gaylord Pendleton) through nepotism gets to be in charge of the survey, and since he's a greenhorn to the west Cody and Gabby are asked by the colonel to look after him.

The ranch's untrustworthy mixed blood  foreman, Emilio Montez (Trevor Bardette), is secretly in cahoots with his half brother, the full-bloodied Comanche renegade medicine man Akuna (Chief Thundercloud), and both believe their tribal legend that on the northern part of the Regas' land there's a secret gold mine, something the evil duo scheme to get their hands on by any means possible. When the foolish Jerry is hustled by the local cantina slut Dolores (Estelita Zarco) into gambling, he loses a fortune and for the debt to be squared by Montez, without his dad knowing about it, he must falsely acknowledge that the northern territory is free land and not part of the original land grant.

It's up to Cody and Gabby to straighten things out and prevent the baddies from stealing the land, killing the legitimate Spanish land-owner and the guilt-ridden colonel's son, and, on a more personal note, for Tonia to look at Cody again with loving eyes. This, naturally, requires a shoot-out with the Indians and a cavalry rescue at the last moment, as the Indians attack the hacienda. It also has Don Regas's valuable bandana, which has the land grant certified on it, now in the possession of Gabby, after he obtained it in the field when both the ranch owner and Gabby were wounded in a skirmish. The bandana will clear up who really owns the northern territory, and all there's left time for is for Roy to sing another forgettable song.

It certainly isn't historical, but has some limited value as an entertaining B-western.

REVIEWED ON 9/1/2013       GRADE: B-

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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