I love all these old westerns that John Wayne made for Lone Star Pictures back in the 30’s. They usually recycled all the same plots, but Wayne was always cool, the pacing was always tight and they rarely ran any longer than an hour. They can easily be found inexpensively on DVD or sometimes turn up on television, and if you’re a fan of Wayne’s, or westerns in general, you owe it to yourself to check them out.
The opening to this one is a real grabber. John Wayne rides into a one horse town and walks into a bar to grab himself a brew, only to find that the bartender and all the patrons have been massacred. While the automatic piano plays endlessly, he’s spied on by a pair of mysterious eyes in a painting and it isn’t long before the local law shows up. George “Gabby” Hayes plays the real culprit who masquerades as a harmless mute who implicates Wayne in the crime. Wayne’s arrested, but with a little help from a purdy lady, he sets out to clear his name and get the bad guys.
After a strong start, Randy Rides Alone quickly devolves into your routine oater. That’s fine by me though because it clocks in at a scant 53 minutes, which whizzes by pretty fast. Wayne again commands the screen and you can tell that even when he was a fresh faced newbie, he was destined to become a star. A lot of fun is also had by watching Hayes chew up the scenery in a dual role and seeing the ever reliable Yakima Canutt in a supporting turn as a henchman.
A fine performance by Wayne and a mountain of B western clichés may not add up to a whole lot, but you can certainly find a lot of worse ways to spend an hour.