July 8, 2008
Great title. Great opening — a gravestone marker reads “Here lies the Durango Kid” and we pull back to find Smiley giving a tour of the grave. A stranger in the crowd asks how Durango was killed and Smiley says he tried to rob a bank. The stranger — Steve Waring.
This promising opening quickly loses it’s punch. Turns out Smiley made up the whole thing to make a few bucks.
Steve starts a bar fight by insulting Smiley’s music. “You cowhands are easily satisfied if you call that good music.” Our old friend Robert J. Wilke shows what a fine actor he is by playing a character who would fight to defend the idiot’s singing.
Smiley is the deputy sheriff in town, but actually he’s a US Treasury Agent, just like Steve. He knows Steve and they work together. He doesn’t appear to know that Steve is the Durango Kid.
In a jail cell, Smiley asks what’s up. Steve sits down and begins to talk. He stops 15 minutes later after he’s told us the entire story of “Both Barrels Blazing.”
The bad guys are trying to keep Lucky Thorpe’s daughter from inheriting his ranch and finding his hidden money.
Steve finds her in a hotel room with Paul Campbell. He sits down and talks. It takes him 15 minutes to tell us the story of “Blazing the Western Trail.”
Aside: when I began this journey, I assumed that it was only late in the series before they began making these films made up almost entirely of footage from older films. But this is 1947; this is only the 26th film. Perhaps the producers had an equation, they figured they could get away with it every x number of films.
The new footage is mostly people sitting around listening to Steve, tossing in such sparkling lines as “so, did they get the mail contract?” and “what happened then, Steve?”
Smiley’s bit is that he has a flyswatter. Oh joy. You have not lived until you see what he can do with that flyswatter!
Cass County Boys provide the tunes.
And yes, that’s Western comic staple Syd Saylor doing a quick turn as Hank.