Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

This film inspired the following nursery rhyme, which I’ve been singing to my 6-week-old daughter all week:

Milk is for Kittens

Carrots for Bunnies

and Bullets for Rustlers

Courtesy of Les Adams

Steve Beaumont is a bad ass. He gets caught for rustling and he laughs. They take him to town where everyone wants hang him and he cracks wise. They put him on trial and he whistles and jokes through the proceedings. He shares recipes with the judge. He pulls a gun on the courtroom.

Courtesy of Les Adams

“He’s cool, isn’t he?” says a spectator. He beats the rap and orders a drink. Someone compliments him on his victory and he says, “I don’t like your face, beat it!” and punches him.

Courtesy of Les Adams

He’s rude and reckless and a jerk. I think Charley was loving it every minute of it.

Of course, they’ve played this little game before, in a couple other of his pictures. But, in those films, they drop the act in under 5 minutes, and it all feels a little half-hearted to begin with. Here, it’s a full 22 minutes of Steve as one bad MF before we learn he’s a detective for the Cattlemen’s Association.

Plot of this 1940 film involves rustlers, and is a lot more complicated than usual — with double crosses and triple crosses, and a big boss and an even bigger boss (this little rustling ring supports a lot of management.)

Here’s a familiar line: “Drop your gun-belt. Left hand!” Seems to me that a left-handed gunman would make out like a bandit in the old West.

A pretty cool, if short, chase at the end when the bad guys commandeer a stage coach.

Another excellent villian played by Dick Curtis and his evil lips. Dick later developed Pioneer Town, a western movie set location and tourist destination. His partner in the venture: another Starrett vehicle regular — Russell Hayden. Where was Charley?

I wonder if Dick ever read the self-help bestseller “Women Are From Venus, Men Are From Mars, Bullets For Rustlers.”

Sons of the Pioneers provide the music again, and, again, have pretty sizeable roles.