“Riders Of The Lone Star”

August 3, 2008

Smiley and Steve ride into town together (this happens a lot less often than you’d think.) Steve Mason is a Texas Ranger and the Durango Kid, and Smiley knows both of these facts.

Dusty Morton, the infamous bandit who can shoot a rifle from his hip, has reappeared after a 10-year absence (or has he?). He’s set on keeping the McCormick Mine from reopening. But why? SPOILER ALERT: The stolen gold’s down there.

Morton’s son, Mike, has two heroes — his missing father (he doesn’t know he’s a bandit) and the Durango Kid. His surrogate mother says, “I’ve heard that the Durango Kid is the sworn enemy of all outlaws.”

Finally, a scene that encapsulates exactly what sort of jerk Smiley is. Little Mike has just been rescued from kidnappers and it’s his birthday. There’s a pile of presents on the table. “Are all these for me?” Smiley: “Sure are. Can I help you unwrap them?” and he digs in. That’s the kind of jerk Smiley is, the kind that robs a polite 13-year-old boy from opening his own birthday presents.

You can really date these films by gauging how well Steve pretends to find Smiley funny. This is 1947, pretty early in the series, because the smile still looks passably genuine.

Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

Interesting twist where the bad guy who is masquerading as Dusty Morton wonders if the Durango Kid is really Dusty Morton. And they say there’s no more blood in this stone!

Nice stagecoach rescue.

The musical score in this one is really over the top, like something you’d expect to accompany a silent Melodrama.

Tunes by Curly Williams and the Georgia Peach Pickers (who are not characters in the film.)

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3 Responses to ““Riders Of The Lone Star””

  1. Mike Newton said

    I have seen a lobby poster card of this film. Lobby poster cards came eight to a set. The first card was the actual poster, the other seven with scenes. On the poster, both Smiley and his horse have rings around their eye. Hence the horse’s name, “Ring-eye.” Burnette had used Nellie over at Republic. It’s said that he used black shoe polish around the horse’s eye to give it a distinguishing mark. And you probably thought the horse was born like that.

  2. Mike Newton said

    Hey Steve: You show a great photo of Jocko as Durango about ready to jump onto Raider’s saddle as the horse shys away. Jocko told me that sometimes the horse would wear blinders to prevent him from seeing somebody coming up from behind. These blinders resemble the googles that swimmers often wear. I wonder if Jocko made onto the saddle. Why don’t you comment on those things rather than constantly reinterating your complaints about Smiley. What made the Durangos popular was the expert stuntwork of Jock Mahoney. He created all of the leaps, and chases across rooftops that gave the Durango Kid his daredevil personality. Otherwise he would have just been another Saturday afternoon cowboy hero. Even Starrett admitted that Jocko’s stunting ability made his pictures popular. As he used to put it, “I do the dialogue for Jock Mahoney.”

  3. Ed Butler said

    Unless that horse did a quick dance step backwards, I swear Jocko looks like he’s about to fall flat on his face under the afterburner. Great shot.

    Also, I seem to recall reading somewhere that this was to have been the last of the Durango series. Apparently, it finally occurred to somebody at Columbia that it made no sense to abandon the goose while there might still be golden eggs to be had. They saved the actual kill for five years later.

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