The Texas Rangers Ride Again (1940)
If it wasn’t for the absence of John Wayne with his pals Ray Corrigan and Max Terhune, I would swear I was watching a Three Mesquiteers programmer. Then again this Paramount filler for the lower half of double bills has a much better cast filling out the roster. Sorry Duke.
Subbing in for the above trio in this modern day western are handsome leading man John Howard and sidekick Broderick Crawford. It seems that May Robson’s cattle have steadily dwindled in numbers and she’s ready to go lynching the guilty parties if only she can find them. She appeals to the Texas Ranger organization for help. They send in a couple of yes men to look the place over and find nothing with the help of Anthony Quinn’s ranch foreman leading them around the large acreage.
Turning up on the ranch for the customary comic relief is Akim Tamiroff who in three years time would become an Oscar winner in For Whom The Bell Tolls.
Posing as outlaws on the run, Howard and Crawford arrive looking for work. Quinn puts them to work on the inside of his cattle rustiling scheme that he conducts under the nose of Robson and her daughter Ellen Drew. Drew of course will take a liking to the good looking Howard before the film’s finale.
Rapidly paced with plenty of action down the stretch, it isn’t long before our undercover Rangers figure out who’s behind the rustling which leads to the inevitable shootout and the unveiling of their true identities leaving the field open for Drew and Howard at the climax.
Although strictly a B programmer, it’s worth a look to see three actors of note early in their careers. Legendary Anthony Quinn was in scores of films during his schooling period and was well on his way by this point to becoming a solid character actor and not just the son-in-law of Cecil B. Demille.
Brod Crawford was another young actor on the rise who would establish himself as an Oscar winner in 1949’s All The King’s Men before moving onto to a lengthy career in both film and television.
Make sure you don’t tune out nearing the film’s finale as you’ll get a chance to see an unbilled Robert Ryan behind a pencil thin mustache. It’s a minor role but all the same, it’s Robert Ryan!
Leading man John Howard had just wound up his stint as Bulldog Drummond and would continue on in films and television into the seventies. Attractive leading lady Ellen Drew would work primarily in the thirties and forties and appear in the memorable Val Lewton chiller Isle of the Dead.
The title leads me to believe this is a sequel of sorts but I am not to sure. It could be related to the 1936 Fred MacMurray film The Texas Rangers but the characters have different names so who knows.
I added this film to my collection thanks to a top notch Western 10 Pack from Universal that`s worth the few dollars I paid for it.