Tim Holt Western Classics Collection, Vol. 2 [5 Discs] [DVD]

This box set pays homage to B western star Tim Holt, with ten of Holt's oaters produced between 1943 and 1950. Contents include: Brothers in the Saddle, Riders of the Range, The Mysterious Desperado, Masked Raiders and more.
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Overview

Synopsis

Riders of the Range
RKO's resident cowboy stars Tim Holt and Richard "Chito" Martin were back in 1949's Riders of the Range. Hired on as ranch hands, Kansas (Holt) and Chito come to the aid of ranch owner Dusty (Jacqueline White), whose brother (Robert Clarke) has been led astray by a crooked gambler (Reed Hadley). As had happened in so many previous RKO oaters, Our Heroes are accused of murder, but manage to break jail in time to collar the real culprit. No, the "mystery" villain isn't the gambler, since he was the murder victim (without giving away the ending, here's a clue: keep an eye on that former cowboy hero who in this film heads the supporting cast). Riders of the Range was the first Tim Holt vehicle to lose money for RKO, an indication of the audience erosion caused by that upstart TV medium. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Sagebrush Law
A young buckaroo gallops off after the conniving crooks who framed his bank president daddy for embezzlement. Plenty of western action ensues until justice prevails and the ornery varmints are jailed. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

The Mysterious Desperado
Tim Holt's second RKO western for 1949 was Mysterious Desperado. Once more teamed with Richard Martin as his saddle pal Chito, Tim rides into a sleepy California town, where Chito hopes to claim his uncle's estate. Tim decides to stick around and investigate when it turns out that Uncle was murdered. The number-one suspect is the victim's son (Edward Norris), but if this were true, the movie would be over in 15 minutes. A clue: when in doubt, always look towards the Evil Land Developers. Director Leslie Selander also contributed to the screenplay of Mysterious Desperado. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Indian Agent
In the early 1930s, Tom Keene was RKO's resident western star. By 1948, Keene had changed his name to Richard Powers, and had slipped unobtrusively into supporting roles. Back at RKO for Indian Agent, Keene/Powers plays a crooked government man who has been rerouting the Indian's food supplies to fatten his own bank account. Racing to the rescue is Tim Holt, who forestalls an Indian uprising in order to bring the duplicitous agent to justice. Indian Agent also features a character performance by Noah Beery Jr. (usually cast as the bucolic best friend of the hero) as a proud Native American chief. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Masked Raiders
Texas Rangers Tim Holt and Richard Martin are dispatched to halt a gang of masked outlaws terrorizing the frontier. Infiltrating the gang, Holt and Martin learn that the raiders are operating altruistically, robbing from the rich to give to the poor. The real villain, it seems, is the local banker (Frank Wilcox), who is mortgaging the local ranchers out of existence. Holt convinces masked-raider leader Marjorie Lord that it's best to let the law take his course, then rides out to bring the banker to task for his misdeeds. Masked Raiders moves along with the smooth expertise audiences of 1949 had come to expect from RKO's Tim Holt western series. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Avenging Rider
Tim Holt's third RKO Radio western for 1943 was The Avenging Rider. The story finds Holt trying to clear himself and his partner Cliff "Ukelele Ike" Edwards of a robbery-murder rap. The actual villains each carry a portion of a Five of Spades, so that they can identify themselves when they claim their shares of the stolen money. Our Hero tracks down four of the five miscreants before he is able to expose the "brains" behind the operation (the Least Likely Suspect, as usual). Cliff Edwards has so much to do and so many songs to sing in The Avenging Rider that one feels he should have gotten top billing. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Guns of Hate
Filmed at majestic Lone Pine, CA, this fine B-Western features Tim Holt and sidekick Richard Martin helping an elderly miner, Jason Robards Sr., with an obstinate wagon-wheel. But the two friends become instant suspects when the miner is found murdered for the map to his claim. Although she is attracted to Tim, even the dead man's pretty niece (Nan Leslie) believes in his guilt. But by using a bit of subterfuge, Holt and Martin break out of jail and are soon able to unmask the real culprits. It should come as no surprise that Holt and leading lady Nan Leslie look comfortable together; Guns of Hate was the third of six Westerns they would make together. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

The Rustlers
Another of RKO's profitable Tim Holt western series, Rustlers costars Holt with his popular sidekick Richard Martin (as Chico Rafferty). Holt and Martin are arrested by sheriff Harry Shannon, who accuses them of being members of a vicious rustling gang. Actually Shannon is the head of the operation; he hopes to throw suspicion off himself by framing Our Heroes for the crime. Holt and Martin bust out of jail, prove their innocence, and fix Shannon's wagon. Rustlers was one of a handful of Holt westerns directed by Lesley Selander, later a minor favorite of auteur critics. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Stagecoach Kid
While searching for a stolen gold shipment, partners in a stagecoach line attempt to keep crooked ranch hands from stealing their employer's land. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

Brothers in the Saddle
The siblings of the title are Tim Holt and Steve Brodie. Holt is the good guy (after all, the film was part of Holt's RKO western series), while younger brother Brodie is the hotheaded troublemaker. The film offers a wealth of fistfights, gun duels and pursuits on horseback, as well as a dash of romance. Holt doesn't get a leading lady--at least not at first--but Brodie's fiancee is played by newcomer Virginia Cox. Brothers in the Saddle was the third Tim Holt vehicle to be directed by western specialist (and future minor cult figure) Lesley Selander. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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