July 9, 2008
Here’s the plot of the third Durango Kid film of 1947 (there would be six more): Hod Barker kills John Avery to get his land for a power plant. What sort of power plants did they have in the Old West, you ask? Don’t worry, the power plant is a fake. It needs a reservoir and the land is not suited for one. Hod wants the land for some other, unstated purpose.
Steve Ramsey is an independent assayer (another sexy job for Charley) who was hired by the dead man before he…became dead. It’s unclear if he knows Smiley at the beginning of the film, or if they get friendly real fast.
Durango does a great deal of quick changes in this film. He even changes twice during a ride, a short ride at that.
There’s a stock character that I never knew was a stock character until I started watching these films. It’s not seen as frequently as, say, the crotchety old prospector, or the quick tempered henchman, but you see this character every six or seven films. He’s the naive cocky kid, usually the little brother of the love interest or the son of the good woman, who is used by the bad guys. Here he’s played well by Glenn Stuart in his first of only two roles.
Durango uses the old “rope across the trail trick”. It’s amazing how often they use this footage. It’s clear that they shot this stunt once and, film after film, dress the characters the same to match the footage. Wardrobe must have always kept the following clothes on hand; black shirt and black hat, white shirt and white hat, checkered shirt and no hat. Even more amazing is that they display the necessary attention to detail to pull this off, yet can’t remember if Smiley knows whether Steve is the Durango Kid or not.
Smiley is the printer in town. Black ink and black face. ‘Nuff said.
Our old friends, Mustard and Gravy, are back. They play Smiley’s cousins.
“What are you two doing in the Texas Panhandle?”
“We’re so low we got to reach up to touch bottom!”
“You guys run out of places to play?”
“The places we play run us out!”
You can learn a little more about this pair at this site.