“Thundering West”

August 7, 2008

Before there was a Durango Kid, there was the Laramie Kid.

Courtesy of Les Adams

What’s in a name, you ask? Well, Durango is a town in Texas, and Laramie is a town in Wyoming. Besides, I like the Durango name better, maybe because it sounds cooler, or maybe because it sounds sort of evil.

Charles Starrett and Dick Curtis are on the same side, at least at first, and Charles isn’t undercover. He’s part of Wolf’s (Curtis) gang. After a disagreement with management, Laramie and Tucson form their own streamlined mini-gang.

During a shootout with his old gang during a stagecoach robbery, he meets pretty Iris Meredith. She’s the judge’s daughter and thinks Charley is a hero. Before you know it, he’s Sheriff.

It’s nice to see Charley in plaid for a change. When he gets his gold star, though, it’s back to the black shirt, white scarf and slick hair — his standard dress during this period.

Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

The Sons of the Pioneers play the warm-up act for the mayor, and they play before big crowds.

In fact, the big difference between a Durango Kid movie and a Laramie Kid movie (of which this is the only one) is PEOPLE, lots and lots of people. When Durango pulls a crowd it’s maybe 6 to 8 people. In “Thundering West”, there are tons of people, people filling saloons, people filling auditoriums, people streaming onto the street to form a posse.

Charles beats Wolf at the end and puts aside the Laramie Kid moniker for good. Good riddance. Bring on Durango!