Powdersmoke Range Film Details
Overview: New ranch owners Tucson, Stony, and Lullaby find their legal papers missing and cattle rustled. The culprit is Ogden and his stooge Deputy Glascow. When the trio fight back, Ogden brings in Saunders, the fastest gun around who Tucson
Tagline: The greatest roundup of Western stars!
Review: If you like your movies loaded with supporting characters who also starred in their own films, this is the B-movie for you (it made me think of A-lister Endgame). Its poster proclaims “The Barnum and Bailey of Westerns” and the cast is a B-western movie lover’s dream. It’s too bad the movie crawls along and following its plot depends a whole lot on its audience having read the source of William Colt MacDonald’s Three Mesquiteers series of westerns. *cough* I’ve read them all *cough* At 57 and 43 and 36 respectively, actors Harry Carey, Hoot Gibson and Guinn Williams are too old to play the interested-in-romance and youthfully athletic Tucson, Stoney and Lullaby of the novels, but their other characteristics ring true and there is welcome humor. In any case, the film’s focus isn’t so much on Bob Steele’s (Trooper Duffy in F Troop, the ‘only survivor of the Alamo, unjustly forgotten because he lived’) romance as it is on Carey’s redemption of Sundown Saunders. Gun-for-hire Sundown (Tom Tyler, Captain Marvel in the 1941 serial) is paid by Big Bad running the town to off investigating Carey in a gunfight and balks after finding out who his upright target is, but by gosh, he’s accepted payment so he’s bound to go through with the killing, because Honor. Provoked into an unwanted duel because Honor, Carey deals. His two mournful pals in tow, he trades in his doughty Colt .45s for lighter weight weapons with lighter ammo in the niftiest plot point ever. Aghast, his pals plead but no, Carey follows through and at sundown, he heads into the street. Sundown awaits, they stalk closer and closer until Carey fires first. Sundown drops like a burlap bag of potatoes and Carey cradles him to stifle fears of death. “You’re not hurt bad,” he says, “because I figured that since you always fight at sundown, your scheme is to let the other guy get real close in the bad light and then you blast him with your cannons.” Sundown relaxes in Carey’s arms as onlookers and a doc race up. “How’d you know to get here so fast?” demands Carey of the doc, who nods toward Carey’s pals. They blush and stammer that they’d asked the doc to get ready to treat Carey. At this point, I thought Carey would break the fourth wall as he did in other light-hearted films of his for a ‘hmmph!’ at the camera, but nope, he just offers Sundown a job at the ranch when he’s recovered. All in all, I enjoyed the movie despite a heavy lean towards exposition. Those supporting actors from studios like PRC and Puritan made me smile (Wally Wales! Art Mix! Buddy Roosevelt! Hoot Gibson, who rarely carried a gun in his film series and loved comedy!) so it was an enjoyable 1 1/5 hours of powdersmoke. Later in the decade came my favorite casting of the trio as John Wayne, Ray “Crash” Corrigan, and Max Terhune. I might even have preferred Robert Livingston in the lead role rather than Wayne, but it’s a close thing.
Country: United States
Duration: 72 min
Genre: Action, Romance, Western
Also known as: Ruudinsavun rajamailla,硝煙牧場,Powdersmoke Range,La grande arena,Duelo de Valentes,Los cuatro invencibles