The second of the Rough Riders films opens with Bob “Bodie” Bronson (played by Buck Jones) seeking shelter from a storm and coming upon a house. Brodie enters the house, just to discover two dead bodies, a crying baby, and a note that says that the house was attacked by rustlers. After the storm passes, Bodie takes the baby to a ranch owned by Alice Boden (Christine McIntyre) and her boyfriend, Joe (David O’Brien). Alice and Joe agree to look after the baby while Bodie heads into town.
Anyone who has seen Arizona Bound or any of the Rough Riders films that came out after The Gunman From Bodie will know that Boodie Bronson is actually Marshal Buck Roberts and that he’s working undercover. His partner, Marshal Sandy Hopkins (Raymond Hatton), is already working as a cook at the ranch. Soon, the third rough rider, Marshal Tim McCall (Tim McCoy), shows up with a wanted poster for Bodie. It’s all a plan, of course, to help Bodie ingratiate himself with the actual rustlers.
The Gunman From Bodie is considerably darker than Arizona Bound. Because of the murder of the baby’s parents, the Rough Riders aren’t just looking to uphold the law. They’re looking to avenge a terrible crime and to dispense some frontier justice. Buck Jones and Tim McCoy both give grim and determined performances that leave you with no doubt that you don’t want to get on their bad side. While Alice and Joe tug at the audience’s heartstrings by becoming parents to the orphaned child, the Rough Riders do what they have to do to prevent any more children from losing their parents. I especially liked the scene where Marshal McCall graphically described what happens when someone is executed by hanging, describing each detail until the actual murderer freaks out and reveals himself. The Gunman From Bodie is quick-moving western for adults that features Buck Jones, Tim McCoy, and Raymond Hatton at their best.
Previous Rough Rider Reviews:
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Pingback: Riders of the West (1942, directed by Howard Bretherton) | Through the Shattered Lens
Pingback: West of the Law (1942, directed by Howard Bretherton) | Through the Shattered Lens