Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Both Barrels Blazing

Great title, right? It has nothing at all to do with the movie, not that there's anything wrong with that. Once again, Charles Starrett plays the Durango Kid, but this time he's also a Texas Ranger named Kip Allen. Three movies, three names. Maybe the Durango Kid is who he really is and the other characters are the disguises.

Anyway, this time the Kid isn't out to avenge the death of his father. He's out to get the train robber mentioned at the end of The Return of the Durango Kid. Except that's not all. The robber is offed pretty quickly, and then the Kid has to take care of the saloon owner (who looks exactly like the saloon owners in the two previous movies), who's now in possession of the gold that the train robber had.

Then there's a classic twist, where a poor prospector named Grubstake, who's been supporting his daughter's family by begging, since he can't find gold, is getting a visit from his granddaughter. Grubstake asks the saloon owner to help him out, and anyone who's see the dozens of variations on this plot on The Andy Griffith Show knows what comes next. Everyone in town's going to pretend that Grubstake is a wealthy man about town. (This has something to do with the gold, trust me.)

The Jesters are back, and so is Tex Harding as the singing sidekick. Dub Taylor is along for the alleged comedy relief, and Pat Parrish looks good as the granddaughter. All is resolved at the end, after a lot of killing, and Tex gets the girl. Even though they're going to be married, never fear. Tex will turn up again as the sidekick in the next movie. And there will be another one, because once again Starrett announces that there's trouble somewhere or other and that the Durango Kid will be needed. Which is interesting since he's supposed to be a Texas Ranger, and he's supposed to be returning the gold to Texas.

As with the other Durango Kid movies I've seen, lots of stuff makes no sense at all. For example, there's an attempted bank robbery. Nobody even knows the Durango Kid is in town, and there's no way he could know about the robbery. Neverthelss, when the baddies open the bank door, he's standing right there waiting for them.

But who cares about stuff like that? What we want to see is some ridin' and shootin', and there's plenty of that. I don't have any more Durango Kid movies recorded, which is probably just as well, but it was fun to revisit my kidhood for a few hours with these.


John said...

A interesting entry in the Durango Kid series is the 1949 film, "Laramie". The climax features stock footage from John Ford's "Stagecoach" with Charles Starrett dressed in John Wayne's outfit. It's weird seeing this great action footage turning up in a "B" film like this.

Bill Crider said...

Well, there's one I'll have to look for, for sure.