When two U.S. marshals are ambushed and killed while searching for a group of outlaws in a nearly deserted ghost town, Marshal Tim McCall (Tim McCoy) leaves his ranch in Wyoming to investigate the crime. He was friends with the two murdered men, making this case personal. Of course, McCall’s two fellow Rough Riders ride into town to help McCall out. Buck Roberts (Buck Jones) and Sandy Hopkins (Raymond Hatton) arrives separately and pretend to be prospectors. Their investigation leads to the outlaws (led, as usual, by Charles King), a corrupt member of the community, and a network of underground tunnels that might lead to a gold mine. As with all of the Rough Rider films, Ghost Town Law features a younger secondary protagonist who was there to appeal to audiences who didn’t remember Jones, McCoy, and Hatton from their silent and pre-code era heyday. Virginia Carpenter plays Josie Hall, who comes to the town to search for her grandmother and brother.
Starting with the two marshals getting gunned down in the line of duty, this is one of the more violent of the Rough Riders films. Since the Rough Riders are as interested in getting revenge as they are in getting justice, the Rough Riders themselves are quicker on the draw than usual. The identity of the main villain will not be a shock to anyone who has watched any of the other Rough Rider films but the use of the underground tunnels adds a new element of danger to the movie. For once, the outlaws and the Rough Riders seem evenly matched. The film also features the very lovely and likable Virginia Carpenter, making the last of her five film appearances.
As always, the main appeal is watching Jones, McCoy, and Hatton acting opposite each other. Due to the nature of the case, all three of them are more serious than usual in Ghost Town Law but it is still enjoyable to watch them discuss what’s been happening at their ranches since the last movie.
Previous Rough Rider Reviews:
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