Mason of the Mounted (1932, directed by Harry L. Fraser)

Bill Mason (Bill Cody) is a member of the Canadian Mounted Police who is sent over the border to track down a murderous horse thief.  Going undercover, Mason discovers that a nearby frontier town is being terrorized by rustlers.  The townspeople have named Calhoun (LeRoy Mason) as the head of the local posse but Mason soon discovers that Calhoun is actually the horse thief!

Mason of the Mounted is only 57 minutes long but it’s a very slow-moving 57 minutes.  It’s also a pre-Code film but, other than a grisly shot of a dead body at the start of the film, there’s nothing about Mason of the Mounted that you wouldn’t expect to find in a western made under the production code.  Much of the film centers around Mason befriending an American teenager named Andy Talbot (played by Andy Shuford).  This was actually one of 8 films that Bill Cody and Andy Shuford made together.  Cody was a genuine cowboy who performed in wild west shows before and after his film career.  Shuford was a child actor whose career was primarily in Westerns.  During World War II, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps, flew many missions out of England, and eventually reached the rank of colonel.  He never returned to making films.

As for Mason of the Mounted, Bill Cody has some authentic cowboy grit and is credible when he’s on a horse or shooting a gun but the plot moves too slowly and most of the cast is stiff and awkward.  I did like the idea of the main rustler disguising himself as the only person capable of stopping the rustlers.  That was an interesting idea and I wish the movie had done more with it.  This is a film that’s mostly for fans of the genre and even the most undemanding western fan will probably have a hard time making their way through the whole thing.

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