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Western Wednesdays: The Texan (1932)

SYNPOSIS:

Buffalo Bill, Jr. [Jay Wilsey] is on the run from authorities for a crime he did not commit and flees to Trona County. He bears witness to Buck Townsley [Jack Mower] training for a big race and decides he wants a piece of the action. Knowing that Bill is a wanted man, Jim [Lafe McKee] and his cohorts blackmail Bill in to throwing the race so they can recoup the money made from the townsfolk who have bet on Bill to win.

Bill reluctantly goes along with Jim’s scheme and settles down with pretty Mary Lou [Lucile Brown] and her son Bobby [Bobby Nelson], who are aloof to the plan. As it turns out, the sheriff from Pirute County, where Bill is wanted, is the master of ceremonies for the big race and swears to arrest Bill after the event. Bill heads for the hills and Jim and his men decide to capture him to keep him from talking.

Bill escapes and wins the race, foils Jim’s plans and is promptly arrested by the sheriff vowing to return to Mary Lou one day.

REVIEW:

The more I watch Buffalo Bill, Jr. (real name Jay Wilsey), the more I really like him. Yeah, his acting is limited and his fighting skills are among the worst I’ve ever seen, but he has a charm and charisma that makes it hard to hate him. If he had been able to work at a better studio and brushed up on his fighting skills, he could have made some great B-Westerns.

Lafe McKee is perfectly sleazy as Jim the con-man and, yes, that was the infamous “Art Mix,” a.k.a George Kesterson as a cowhand. Lucile Brown is very pretty and a decent screen presence for this type of film and, shockingly, Bobby Nelson wasn’t the annoying brat I expected him to be, he was actually decent.

The film too was decent for the most part, sure it isn’t on the same level as say a Ken Maynard World-Wide, but I was surprised to see how pretty good a film from such a low-end outfit like Principal, could be. Again, the fight scenes are dreadful and they go on for quite a bit.

It was also a surprise, and a little refreshing, to see the film not have a glossy Hollywood ending. Usually, I’d expect the troubled hero to be given some charity and be let free, but Buffalo Bill, Jr., though a good guy, still has to go to the hoosegow at the end.

While “The Texan” is by no means a classic, it was surprisingly a decent little film, one that made me like Jay Wilsey much more.

If you can find it online, and it is currently on YouTube, check it out.

A note on the print though, it is decent for the most part, until the near end of the film where it looks to have been exposed too much, characters faces are blasted out in globs of white, but do not let this detract you from seeking this one out as it is only temporary.