Arizona Bound (1941, directed by Spencer Gordon Bennett)

The town of Mesa City, Arizona has a problem.  A gang of thieves are holding up stagecoaches and shooting the drivers.  Stagecoach lines are removing Mesa City from their list of destinations and the town is having to depend on the services of corrupt businessman Steve Taggert (Tristram Coffin).  After the death of her father and the shooting of her boyfriend, Ruth Masters (Launa Walters) takes over her family’s stagecoach line and is determined to keep it running.  But who will drive her coaches?

Cattle salesman and former marshal Buck Roberts (Buck Jones) rides into town and volunteers to drive the next stagecoach.  Because the stagecoach is carrying a gold shipment, everyone suspects that it will probably be targeted by the thieves.  Volunteering to help Buck is another cattleman named Sandy Hopkins (Raymond Hatton) and the town’s newly arrived preacher, Parson McCall (Tim McCoy).  McCall has already run afoul Taggert because of his crusade to close down Taggert’s saloon.  What Taggert and the other citizens of Mesa City don’t know is that Buck, Hopkins, and McCall are the Rough Riders, undercover government agents who have a plan to both protect the gold and to reveal the identities of the culprits.

Arizona Bound was the first of seven films about the Rough Riders.  While the plots were never anything special, these films stood out because they paired Buck Jones and Tim McCoy, two B-western mainstays who had been active since the silent era and who both brought a good deal of authentic toughness to their performances.  In Arizona Bound, both Jones and McCoy don’t hesitate to show that they’re not going to put up with any nonsense from Taggert and his men.  There’s a great scene where McCoy proves that even a preacher can outdraw and intimidate an entire saloon full of roughnecks.  Jones, McCoy, and Hatton made a good team, though world events would come together to prevent the Rough Riders from having too many adventures.  After the U.S. entered World War II, McCoy volunteered for active duty.  Meanwhile, Jones died in a tragic night club fire.  Raymond Hatton continued to play Sandy Hopkins in other films but none with the original Rough Riders.

8 responses to “Arizona Bound (1941, directed by Spencer Gordon Bennett)

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