Down Texas Way (1942, directed by Howard Bretherton)

The sixth entry in the Rough Riders series finds Marshal Tim McCall (Tim McCoy) traveling from Wyoming to Texas so that he can help Sandy Hopkins (Raymond Hatton) celebrate his birthday.  When he arrives, he discovers that the birthday celebration is on hold because Sandy has been accused of murdering his best friend, John Dodge (Jack Daley).  Dodge was the richest man in town and the townspeople think that Sandy murdered him as a result of a disagreement over a card game.  What they don’t know is that Sandy and Dodge were only pretending to be mad at each other as a practical joke.

Dodge was really murdered by Bert Logan (Harry Woods), an outlaw who has hired an actress named Stella (Lois Austin) to pretend to be Dodge’s long-lost wife.  When all of Dodge’s property is given to Stella, Stella will then give it all to Dodge.  While Tim tries to keep the sheriff (Glenn Strange) from prosecuting Sandy, Marshal Buck Roberts (Buck Jones) goes undercover and infiltrates Logan’s gang.

After five previous films that just featured the Rough Riders talking about what their lives were like when they weren’t chasing outlaws, Down Texas Way shows us Sandy Hopkins’s life in Texas.  It’s about what you would expect.  Sandy likes to spend his time playing cards and hanging out in the lobby of his hotel.  It seems like an nice life, at least until Bert Logan tries to frame him for murder.  Luckily, the other Rough Riders are always there to have his back.  Down Texas Way is not one of the better Rough Riders films because Bert’s scheme never makes much sense but Hatton is relaxed and engaging and McCoy and Jones are their usual tough selves.  As with the previous film, the appeal of this Rough Riders film is the Rough Riders themselves and the way that they always stick together and have each other’s back.  That’s especially true in Down Texas Way, in which both Tim and Buck show that they’ll travel across several states if it means helping out a friend in a jam.

One final note, the town’s sheriff is named Trump, though I assume he’s no relation.  Glenn Strange, who played Sheriff Trump, would later play Frankenstein’s Monster in the last of the Universal horror movies.

Previous Rough Rider Reviews:

  1. Arizona Bound
  2. The Gunman From Bodie
  3. Forbidden Trails
  4. Below the Border
  5. Ghost Town