Forbidden Trails (1941, directed by Robert N. Bradbury)

Marshal Buck Roberts (Buck Jones) has finally retired after a long and a legendary career.  Two men who Buck arrested are not planning on allowing him to enjoy his retirement.  Having served their sentence for robbing a stagecoach, Fulton (Charles King) and Howard (Bud Osborne) are released from prison and head to Yucca City, Arizona.  They try to recruit their old partner, Jim Cramer (Dave O’Brien), into helping them get revenge on Buck but Cramer wants nothing to do with it.  He’s gone straight and is running his own general store with his fiancée, Mary (Christine McIntyre).  Cramer considers Buck to be a friend because Buck looked after Cramer’s children while Cramer was serving his sentence.

Fulton and Howard ambush Buck and nearly kill him.  With the help of his horse, Silver (of Lone Ranger fame), Buck is able to escape but he’s seriously injured.  His two fellow rough riders, Sandy Hopkins (Raymond Hatton) and Tim McCall (Tim McCoy), head down to Arizona to bring Fulton and Howard to justice.  (Sandy even rides away from his own wedding when he hears that Buck has been injured.)  While the Rough Riders search for Fulton and Howard, saloon owner Ed Nelson (Tris Coffin) works with the outlaws to steal a shipment of goods.

The third of the Rough Riders film, Forbidden Trails is memorable for acknowledging that the three Rough Riders were older than the most of the other contemporary western stars.  Buck Jones, Tim McCoy, and Raymond Hatton were all veteran stars who began their careers during the silent era and who transitioned to B-movies in the sound era.  At a time when their contemporaries were retiring, they were still appearing before the camera and riding the range.  Like the actor playing him, Buck Howard has reached the age when most people retire but he cannot escape his past.  Neither can Jim Cramer, who can’t live the law-abiding life that he desires as long as Fulton and Howard are free.  While Cramer has to escape from his former friends, Buck is lucky to have friends like McCall and Hopkins.  The movie showcases their loyalty and their friendship together and leaves no doubt that will never change, no matter how old the Rough Riders get.  Along with showcasing the friendship of its three stars, the movie is full of chases and gunfights.  The scene where Buck is ambushed is exiting and there’s also a good saloon shootout.  Jones and McCoy are as authentically western as ever.

Dave O’Brien and Christine McIntyre both appeared in the previous Rough Riders film but they’re playing different characters here.  Tris Coffin also played a similar crooked businessman in the first Rough Riders film, Arizona Bound.

Previous Rough Rider Reviews:

  1. Arizona Bound
  2. The Gunman From Bodie

Retro Television Reviews: The Love Boat 2.14 “Julie Falls Hard / Double Wedding / The Dummies”

Welcome to Retro Television Reviews, a feature where we review some of our favorite and least favorite shows of the past!  On Wednesdays, I will be reviewing the original Love Boat, which aired on ABC from 1977 to 1986!  The series can be streamed on Paramount Plus!

Welcome aboard.  Don’t expect much from your cruise this week.

Episode 2.14 “Julie Falls Hard / Double Wedding / The Dummies”

(Dir by Bob Claver, originally aired on December 16th, 1978)

Agck!  It’s the most horrifying episode in the history of the Love Boat!

Your eyes do not deceive you.  There are indeed two ventriloquists on this week’s cruise.  Married entertainers Patti Harmon (Ruth Buzzi) and Michael Harmon (Sid Caesar) have been hired to amuse the ship’s passengers.  Unfortunately, they’ve recently separated.  Patti thinks that Michael is incapable of expressing his emotions unless he’s carrying around his dummy.  And it turns out that she’s right because Michael really does carry that dummy around with him everywhere and he has frequent conversations with it.  Even when Michael inevitably apologizes for being a bad husband and asks Patti for another chance, he has to use the dummy to do it.

Seriously, it’s creepy!  I mean, everything works out in the end.  Michael and Patti decide to give their marriage a second chance and their dummies end up kissing as well.  But seriously, ventriloquist dummys are just weird.  Have you seen that episode of The Twilight Zone where the guy tries to switch one dummy out for another so the original dummy gets mad and destroys his replacement?  Have you seen the classic Anthony Hopkins film, Magic?  CREEPY!

Of course, this episode features not just the scariest story in Love Boat history.  It also features the stupidest.  Two twins (Cyb Barnstable and Trish Barnstable) board the cruise with their fiancés (played by David Nelson and Fred Travelena).  No one can tell the twins apart!  Not even Isaac!

Anyway, the twins worry that they might be making a mistake because it seems like each one is marrying a man with the opposite personality.  The twin who likes to stay up late is engaged to the man who goes to bed early.  The twin who likes to be responsible and level-headed is engaged to man who is wild and unpredictable.  So, when the twins disembark the boat so that they can get married in Mexico, they decide to switch places on their wedding day.  But then when the twins return to the boat with their new husbands, they decide that they made a mistake so they switch back.  They can do that because they’re twins!  Seriously, that’s the entire story.

Bleh!  This was so stupid.  Even writing about it was painful.

Finally, Julie’s in love!

Jack Chenault (Tony Roberts) is taking the cruise with his two young daughters and, when he sees Julie, it’s love at first sight.  The daughters wants their Dad to marry Julie as well.  One of the daughters is played by a very young Melora Hardin, who would grow up to play Jan Levinson on The Office.

After knowing Julie for one day, Michael announces that he’s in love with her and he wants her to come live with him in Alaska.  Julie is tempted but ultimately, she can’t leave her life on the boat behind.  Jack is heart-broken but Julie promises to see him the next time that she’s in Alaska.  So, I imagine we will never hear about Jack again.

This third storyline wasn’t bad.  Especially when compared to the other two, it was actually sweet and rather touching.  It helps that Tony Roberts gave a convincing performance Jack.  That said, asking someone to marry you after only knowing them for one day?  Unless you’re a young king looking to legitimize the Treaty of Troyes, that’s never a good idea.

This week’s cruise was not a good one.  Hopefully, next week’s will be less scary and less dumb.