“Frontier Fury”

September 2, 2008

We meet Indian Agent Steve Langdon gesturing with a pencil.  He’s telling Chief Eagle Feather how he plans to transport the Indians’ money from Independence Bank to the Reservation.  Despite Steve’s tricky plans (with a decoy stage and everything), the money is hijacked by, you guessed it, whites dressed as Injuns.  Steve is fired and roams the West looking for the culprits.

The 1943 movie sorta roams along with him, wandering from dead-end plot-point to time-filling horse chase.  He finds one of the bandits, but let’s him go.  He finds another, but he gets killed. And so on.

Arkansas Hunnicutt wanders through the picture as well.  First he’s a stranger on the stage, then he’s Steve’s sidekick, then he’s selling insurance, and next he’s (I don’t know) a talent agent (?) for a travelling medicine show.

Having recently watched Charles Starrett’s boyhood hero William S. Hart in a film, I am more aware of Charley’s silent movie-esque acting touches.  He’s the master of the dumb-show when it comes to 1) having an idea – we see him look at something, smile, then often slap his knee happily and 2) telling a lie – he turns away, enjoys a big grin with himself and nods.

There is a location in this film I’ve never seen: Willow Station is a big brown wooden lodge.  Looks almost like a ski-resort lodge.  Anyone have any ideas where this might be?

There’s an interesting character played by Roma Aldrich (in one of four roles of her entire carreer.)  She’s a gal with a con: she travels from town to town pretending to be the fiance from back East of a recently executed criminal.  The sympathetic townspeople pass the hat to get her money to get back home.

The music is by Jimmie Davis who sang in one more Starrett Western (“Cyclone Prairie Rangers”) before running for, and being elected, Governor of Louisiana.  He served until 1948 before returning to songwriting and performing.  He ran again in 1960 and won.  Jimmie also composed the famous song, “You Are My Sunshine”.  Interesting fella.

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2 Responses to ““Frontier Fury””

  1. Could it be that Willow Station is the lodge at Big Bear, the resort area where many outdoor films were shot, including Trail of the Lonesome Pine? It is not far from Los Angeles and both Columbia and Republic shot some of their serials there.

  2. stevesomething said

    That is a good thought, Mike. It sure looks like it.

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