The Great American Western, Vol. 13 [2 Discs] [DVD]

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Overview

Special Features

  • Interactive menus
  • Scene index
  • Digitally mastered
  • Digitally enhanced audio 5.1

Synopsis

Branded a Coward
In his first of 16 Westerns for independent producer A.W. Hackel, Johnny Mack Brown is Branded a Coward when instead of preventing a saloon hold-up, he is spotted cowering behind the bar. The reason for Johnny Hume's reticence is to be found in his background: 20 years earlier, little Johnny was orphaned when his parents' wagon was attacked by a gang of outlaws headed by the infamous "Cat" (Yakima Canutt). As the grown Johnny explains to stuttering sidekick Oscar (Syd Saylor), he has been "yellow ever since." Johnny's courage is tested once again when the two friends witness a stage hold-up. After chasing the outlaws away, Johnny and Oscar escort the stage into the town of Lawless, AZ, where female passenger Ethel Carson (Billie Seward) extols Johnny's prowess with a gun. To his embarrassment, Johnny is elected deputy marshal. Secrets from the past keep resurfacing and Johnny must constantly fight his own fears. In the end, the former coward proves his real worth in a final face-to-face struggle with the leader of the stage robbers (Robert Kortman), a villain patterning himself after the original Cat. During the fight, an unusual birthmark on the outlaw's arm reveals him to be Johnny's own brother Billy. Long thought killed in the massacre, Billy has instead been raised by the original, now deceased Cat. Unable to prevent his henchmen from attacking, Billy bravely stops a bullet meant for Johnny. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Man from Hell's Edges
Filmed in the desert near Lake Elsinore and Lake Hemet, CA, and in the San Jacinto Mountains, The Man From Hell's Edges was the fourth of six Bob Steele Westerns produced by Trem Carr for release by Sono Art-World Wide. Escaping from Hell's Edges, desert penitentiary Flash Manning (Steele) heads for the town of Raleigh where he saves the sheriff (Robert E. Homans) from being ambushed by Lobo (Julian Rivero), a Mexican gunman. The grateful sheriff deputizes Flash, who now uses the name "Bob Williams." Three months later, three of Flash's fellow inmates, the Drake brothers (Dick Dickinson, Buck Carey) and Joe Danti (Perry Murdock), arrive in Raleigh and Flash, whose identity has been revealed by a wanted poster, joins their gang. There is a confrontation with Lobo, who was responsible for the crime that put the Drake brothers and Danti behind bars in the first place, and Flash is revealed to be working for the secret service. The revelation comes as a welcome surprise for the sheriff's daughter (Nancy Drexel), who has fallen in love with him. The Man From Hell's Edges is the kind of lackadaisical B-Western where continuity is less important than action. The wanted poster, for example, mistakenly records Steele's character as "Flash Martin," while he is called Flash Manning throughout the film. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Round-Up Time in Texas
Gene Autry leaves the West behind (at least temporarily) in Roundup Time in Texas. Hired to deliver a herd of horses to his diamond-mining brother, Autry and his sidekick Frog Millhouse (Smiley Burnette) journey all the way to Africa. Hoping to get rid of the Autry boys and move in on the diamonds themselves, the villains frame Autry on a smuggling and murder charge. It's up to heroine Gwen (Maxine Doyle), the daughter of the murder victim, to clear Gene and place the blame where it belongs. Musical support is provided by the Five Cabin Kids, a quintet of talented black youngsters who previously appeared with Our Gang and W.C. Fields. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Springtime in the Sierras
Republic's Springtime in the Sierras bestows upon star Roy Rogers two leading ladies. The first is his usual vis-a-vis Jane Frazee; the second is statuesque Stephanie Bachelor, playing the head of a poaching gang. Bachelor, it seems, has murdered a game warden who happens to be Rogers' closest chum. Rogers, Frazee and even Andy Devine get to sing in this one. Originally running 75 minutes, it was released to TV in a 54-minute version retitled Song of the Sierra. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Rawhide
Singing cowboy Smith Ballew is the nominal star of Rawhide, but the audience only had eyes for Ballew's co-star: baseball-great Lou Gehrig, in his one-and-only screen appearance. Gehrig plays "himself"-that is, he's a rancher named Lou Gehrig. Pressured by crooks to give up his spread, Gehrig, his sister (Evelyn Knapp) and cowboy-lawyer Ballew inspire the neighboring ranchers to form a united front. During a climactic fist-fight in a pool hall, Gehrig utilizes his pitching skills to subdue the villains. A fan of B westerns in real life, Gehrig does his best to fit into the proceedings of Rawhide; his acting is strictly from hunger, but he does possess an imposing physique and an eagerness to the please the filmgoers. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Rip Roarin' Buckaroo
In this western, a pugilist heads out west to find the crook who fixed his last fight so he can clear his own name. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

The Carson City Kid
Roy Rogers plays an outlaw out to avenge the murder of his brother in this fine Republic Western directed by one of the masters of the genre, Joseph Kane. Learning that the man he believes to be the killer, Lee Jessup (Bob Steele), is running a gambling establishment in Sonora, the Kid manages to obtain a job body guarding Jessup's saloon and its star attraction, Joby (Pauline Moore). But although intent on biding his time, the hero cannot stand idly by while Jessup is taking advantage of a naïve prospector (Noah Beery Jr.) and is forced to show his hand. One of Rogers' better early vehicles, The Carson City Kid is enlivened by a couple of good songs, including "Are You the One?" and "Sonora Moon," both by Peter Tinturia and performed by Rogers and Moore (who later admitted to having been dubbed). ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Colorado
Brothers end up on opposite sides of the law in this Western set during the Civil War. Posing as a Union officer, Don Mason, aka Don Burke (Milburn Stone), attempts to divert the Union troops from the struggle with the Confederacy by arming the Colorado Indian tribes. Unbeknownst to Don, however, his younger brother Jerry (Roy Rogers) is assigned by President Lincoln to investigate the uprisings in the territory and the youngster arrives just as Don is preparing to marry Lylah Sanford (Pauline Moore). With the aid of grizzled sidekick Gabby (George "Gabby" Hayes), Roy manages to disarm the crooked Indian commissioner (Arthur Loft) but Don slips away with Lylah as his hostage. Roy is wounded in the ensuing shootout and is nursed back to health by Lylah, with whom he has fallen in love. There is the inevitable showdown between the brothers but rather than face the hangman, Don makes a daring escape and is shot and killed by Sheriff Harkins (Fred Burns). ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

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