The Fighting Vigilantes (1947, directed by Ray Taylor)

A town in the old west has problem.  Any wagon that comes into town carrying food or cooking supplies is robbed by a group of bandits hired by Price Taylor (George Chesebro), who wants to make sure that he doesn’t have any competition when it comes to selling food at inflated prices to the townspeople.  Because of Taylor’s price gouging, the ranchers are now in danger of starving but the law refuses to do anything to help because they’ve all been paid off by Taylor as well.  Another group of masked people, known as The Fighting Vigilantes, are now robbing Taylor’s wagons.  Things are getting violent and someone is going to get hurt.

Fortunately, Cheyenne Davis (Lash LaRue) and his sidekick, Fuzzy Q. Jones (Al St. John), ride into town.  Everyone thinks that Cheyenne is an outlaw because he wears all black and he carries a whip.  What they don’t know is that Cheyenne and Fuzzy are actually undercover U.S. marshals.  It doesn’t take long for Cheyenne to fall for Abby (Jennifer Holt), the daughter of a local rancher who is involved with the Vigilantes.  When Abby’s father is arrested, Abby blames Cheyenne and says that Taylor will never be defeated.  Fuzzy says that this proves that it’s best to stay away from women.  Can Cheyenne Davis and his trust bullwhip prove them both wrong?

This was one of the many B-western programmers in which Lash LaRue played the role of Cheyenne Davis.  Lash was unique amongst B-western heroes, in that he always dressed in black and he used a whip instead of a gun.  Unfortunately, he wasn’t much of an actor and all of his films were low-budget, rush jobs but he did look pretty cool with a whip.  The Fighting Vigilantes is typical of Lash’s later films but it does deserve some credit for having its heroes go up against not just a gang of outlaws but instead an entirely corrupt town.  Taylor has taken over every institution in the town, leaving the people living under them no choice but to turn vigilante.  The villains are so evil that they even shoot people in the back.  It’s impossible not to enjoy Cheyenne demonstrating, via his whip, the foolishness of trying to draw a gun on Lash LaRue.

The movie ends as almost all of Lash LaRue’s adventures did, with everyone laughing as Cheyenne uses his bullwhip to nearly kill Fuzzy Jones before the two of them ride off to find more injustices that can be fixed with the crack of a whip.  As for the real-life Lash LaRue, his movies eventually went out-of-style and, like a lot of the B-western stars, he moved over to television.  He struggled with alcoholism and was arrested for vagrancy in 1966.  However, he eventually turned his life around and, along with appearing in a few low-budget movies in the 70s, he spent his remaining years ministering to alcoholics in Florida, showing that the real-life Lash LaRue could do just as much good in the real world as he did in the movies.

One response to “The Fighting Vigilantes (1947, directed by Ray Taylor)

  1. Pingback: Lisa Marie’s Week In Review: 1/3/22 — 1/9/22 | Through the Shattered Lens

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