Tex Ritter Double Feature: Utah Trail/Westbound Stage [DVD]

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Utah Trail
Tex Ritter's final music Western for floundering company Grand National, The Utah Trail was yet another low-budget patch-up job with plenty of stock footage from earlier releases. Horace Murphy and Snub Pollard (who is credited as "Peewee Pollard" in the film's credits) once again lent dubious comedy relief, while Charles King took it on the chin for the umpteenth time. As opposed to Murphy, Pollard and King, Utah Trail proved the Western debut of Adele Pearce, a pert actress later known as Pamela Blake. Miss Blake summed up everyone's feelings when she years later told B-Western historian Boyd Magers: "It was terrible! I never saw it and never wanted to!" Ritter, who also supplied the story for The Utah Trail, played Tex Stewart, an agent for the Border States Railroad investigating sightings of a mysterious "ghost train." Posing as an outlaw, The Pecos Kid, Tex discovers that the mysterious train is part of a rustling operation headed by the well-named Hiram Slaughter (Karl Hackett) and his henchman Badger (King). At first, railroad heiress Sally Jeffers (Miss Pearce/Blake) is under the influence of Slaughter but she is soon enough convinced otherwise by Tex who, in between battling the Bad Guys, gets to sing Utah Trail by Bob Palmer and Give Me My Saddle and A Roamin' I'll Be by Frank Harford. Executive producer Edward F. Finney and director Al Herman filmed Utah Trail in a few days on an abandoned railroad siding bear Bakersfield, California, and at the movie ranches in Chatsworth. Finney and Ritter then enjoyed a more or less amicable parting of the ways with Grand National before relocating, lock, stock and barrel, at rival Monogram Pictures. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Westbound Stage
Filmed back-to-back with Roll, Wagons, Roll (1939), this minor Tex Ritter Western once again teamed Ritter with the rangy, unfunny Nelson McDowell. Also repeating was a story of a wagon train guided by an army scout (Ritter). This time, however, the train is attacked, not by wild Indians, but by the notorious Greer gang, who murders Tex's brother Jim (Kenne Duncan). Determined to avenge his brother's death, Tex spreads words that he will escort a large shipment of gold on the next stage. Naturally, Greer (Reed Howes) and his gang attack. Outnumbered, Tex releases a band of accused army deserters lead by Lane (Nolan Willis) and together they capture Greer. The deserters are reinstated for heroism and Tex can warble It's All Over Now by Johnny Lange and Lew Porter. Along with most of the supporting cast, leading lady Muriel Evans appeared in both Westbound Stage and the previous Roll, Wagons, Roll, two of Monogram Pictures' worst Westerns. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Tex Ritter
    Tex Ritter - Tex Stewart
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    Horace Murphy - Ananias
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    Karl Hackett - Hiram Slaughter
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    Edward Cassidy - Sheriff Clayton
  • Dave "Tex" O'Brien
    Dave "Tex" O'Brien - Mason

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