Tim Holt Western Classics Collection, Vol. 1 [5 Discs] [DVD]

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Bandit Ranger
A courageous cowboy dons the guise of a Texas Ranger to keep murderous cattle rustlers from harming a beautiful young woman, the daughter of the dead lawman whose clothes he wears. This western follows his adventures. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

Along the Rio Grande
Tim Holt and sidekicks Ray Whitley and Emmett Lynn join an outlaw gang in this RKO Western filmed on-location at Victorville, CA, and at the Walker and Jauregui movie ranches. When their friend Pop Edwards is shot (in the back, no less) by Doc Randall (Robert Fiske) and his crew, Jeff (Holt), Smokey (Whitley), and Whopper (Lynn) take it upon themselves to avenge him. They do so by infiltrating the gang, and, in time, are awarded assistance by the sheriff (Hal Taliaferro) and café singer Mary Loring (Betty Jane Rhodes). The latter sings "My Grand Pap" and "Old Monterey Moon," both by Whitley and Fred Rose. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

The Bandit Trail
In one of his best early Westerns, Tim Holt avenges the accidental shooting of his father by robbing the Cedar Fork bank, who owes him 20,000 dollars. With his uncle Red Haggerty (Morris Ankrum) and old friend, Whopper (Lee White), in tow, Tim then plans to take on the bank in Remington. The Haggerty gang, however, arrives just in time to see the bank getting robbed by a gang controlled by saloon owner Joel Nebitt (Roy Barcroft) and Tim and Whopper instead join the sheriff's posse. The grateful citizenry elects Tim marshal and with the help of Red, the youngster manages to clean up the lawless town. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Robbers of the Range
Tim Holt plays a rancher named Drummond who runs up against a gang of crooked frontier land agents. When Drummond complains about land-office hanky panky, he's promptly framed for murder. Escaping the law, our hero exposes the real villains with the help of his saddle pals Smokey (Ray Whitley) and Whopper (Emmett Lynn). As proof that the cowboy-hero mantle at RKO Radio had definitely been passed from George O'Brien to Tim Holt, the latter inherits O'Brien's perennial leading lady Virginia Vale in Robbers on the Range. The musical portion of the program includes the stirring ballad "The Railroad's Coming to Town" (PS: It does). ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Law West of Tombstone
Despite its title and its potent lineup of cowboy talent, RKO Radio's The Law West of Tombstone is more comedy than western. The characters are all based on famous frontier characters, with names changed to protect the producers. Harry Carey is cast against type as a blowhard Judge Roy Bean clone, whose bravado masks the heart of a coward. With the help of Billy the Kid rip-off Tim Holt, Carey fends off a gang that closely resembles the Clantons. Holt ends up in the arms of Jean Rouverol, a busy ingenue of the 1930s who later became a prolific children's story writer. Law West of Tombstone was directed by onetime movie leading man Glenn Tryon. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Come On, Danger!
A remake of the 1933 RKO western of the same name, Come on, Danger! stars Tim Holt in the role originally essayed by Tom Keene. Holt goes after a gang of rustlers, commandeered by an attractive young woman (Julie Haydon in the original, Frances Neal in the remake). The girl has been accused of murder, but the actual culprit is the miscreant who drove the girl into a life of crime in the first place. Leading lady Frances Neal displayed an embryonic star quality in this film, but she retired shortly afterward to marry Van Heflin. Come on Danger was a bit longer than the 1933 version, principally because of the three songs warbled by supporting actor Ray Whitley. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Pirates of the Prairie
In one of his better early Westerns, Tim Holt, as Deputy Marshal Larry Durant, is sent to Spencerville where a gang of vigilantes has been terrorizing the citizenry. Going undercover as a gunsmith, Larry quickly learns that the leader of the vigilantes, John Spencer (John Elliott), is an honest man who only seeks to establish law and order. The real brains behind the crimes, meanwhile, are revealed to be Spencer's brother-in-law, Lou Harmon (Roy Barcroft), and his chief henchman, Leighton (Charles King), who speculate in the coming of the railroad by forcing the townspeople to relinquish their land. When Harmon learns from innocent tattle-tale Ike (Cliff Edwards) that the railroad will be bypassing Spencerville in favor of neighboring East Spencerville, the vigilantes shift their operations to that community. Spencer is killed by Leighton in the ensuing melee but with the assistance of the East Spencerville townspeople, Larry manages to trap Harmon and his gang in the local saloon. When not making life difficult for Tim Holt, comedy relief Cliff Edwards performs "Grandpap" and "Where the Mountain Meets the Sunset," both by Fred Rose and Ray Whitley. Pirates of the Prairie was a remake of Legion of the Lawless, a '40s Western starring Tim Holt's predecessor at RKO, George O'Brien. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

The Renegade Ranger
The old west collides with the new in this fine remake of RKO's 1932 Come On, Danger!. Or, rather, veteran RKO star George O'Brien is at odds with his eventual successor at the studio, Tim Holt -- at least part of the way. They play Texas Rangers assigned to bring in suspected murderess Judith Alvarez (Rita Hayworth). But young Holt, who gets himself fired for an altercation in the local cantina, defies his older colleague and instead joins Judith's band of renegades. O'Brien is sympathetic to Judith's claim that local political boss Ben Sanderson (William Royle) is usurping the local ranches by means of phony taxes, but maintains that the girl must make her argument in court. In the end, the greedy Sanderson shows his true face and Judith and her vigilantes are found innocent of all charges. In between the action -- which is fast and plentiful -- resident RKO balladeer Ray Whitley yodels "Move Slow, Little Doggie" by Willia Phelps, and Cecilia Callejo, as Holt's love interest, performs a Mexican dance. Borrowed from Columbia Pictures, a ravishing Rita Hayworth is not the usual placid prairie flower but takes an active part in all the ridin' and shootin'. After all, as her character explains, "I wouldn't have my men do anything I wouldn't do." Renegade Ranger was filmed a third time by RKO in 1943, under its original title, Come On, Danger!, and starring Tim Holt, now a full-fledged B-Western star. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Dude Cowboy
Tim Holt is, of course, a true red-blooded cowboy in this overly tuneful RKO Western and only pretends to be the title character in order to locate a kidnapped engraver. The latter (Byron Foulger) is forced by a crooked dude ranch owner (Eddie Kane) to print counterfeit money but a couple of bills find their way to the government offices in Reno. Tim isn't the only ranch guest operating under a disguise, however, the engraver's pretty daughter (Marjorie Reynolds) is also present and manages to get herself into plenty of trouble. As always, Holt is joined by sidekicks Lee "Lasses" White and Ray Whitley, the latter performing his own and Fred Rose's title tune as well as "Silver Rio," "End of the Canyon Trail," and "Echo Singing in the Wild Wind." ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Fighting Frontier
The first of Tim Holt's 1943 quota of RKO westerns was Fighting Frontier. This time, Holt appears to be cast as a double-dyed villain. Actually, it's all a ruse, cooked up by the Governor to find out the identity of a clever bandit chieftan. It wouldn't be fair to reveal the name of the bad guy, but it's safe enough to report that Ann Summers is the heroine and Cliff "Ukelele Ike" Edwards provides comedy relief. Amidst the shooting and fisticuffs, music fans are treated to two songs, "On the Outlaw Trail" and "The Edwards and the Drews", the latter performed with relish by Cliff Edwards. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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