Lindsey Tries to Appreciate Westerns: Carson City Raiders (1948)

(Image via Western Mood)
(Image via Western Mood)

Carson City is a small, just-forming Western down. Nugget Clark (Eddy Waller) owns the local freight line, which is mainly used to carry gold from the local mines.

Nugget’s about to give up his business, though, because his wagons keep getting raided by a gang of outlaws. The gang is headed up by local barber “Razor” Pool (Frank Reicher), who attempts to rule the land with the help of his right-hand man Starky (Harold Goodwin), who poses as the infamous “Fargo” Jack.

The real “Fargo” Jack, a legendary ol’ outlaw, is now reformed and goes by the name of Tom Drew (Steve Darrell). He’s so reformed, in fact, that he’s taken a job as sheriff.

Razor knows of the sheriff’s true identity, and he plans to frame Tom Drew for the robberies.

(Image via Heritage Auctions)
(Image via Heritage Auctions)

But that won’t happen on the watch of horse-ridin’, gun-slingin’ insurance investigator Rocky Lane (Allan Lane), who has just arrived in Carson City and gotten wind of Pool and the gang’s plan, which will fail if he has anything to do with it.

“The histories of the now great cities of the American west hold countless tales of bloody struggle against ruthless men who sought to rule by plunder and murder,” reads an opening titlecard to the film. “This story tells of one town’s battle with these destructive forces and the man who led its fight.”

Legendary rodeo rider, actor, director and stuntman Yakima Canutt directs 1948’s Carson City Raiders for Republic. The film’s original screenplay was written by Earle Snell, a writer known for his work on low-budget Westerns.

Carson City Raiders is the second film I’ve watched from the Rocky Lane series of B-Westerns. The first was Black Hills Ambush, which I greatly enjoyed, scoring it 4/5 and writing that I was excited to explore more of the films in the series. (Black Hills Ambush was released in 1952 and yes, I am dying a little bit inside because I’m watching them out of order, haha.)

As with Black Hills Ambush, I enjoyed the fast pace and authentic performances of this film. There isn’t an unbelievable actor in the bunch. Most of the actors in this film racked up triple digits of credits by the end of their careers as seasoned vets of B-movies, and their experience shows in that they seem like real people living in a real Carson City.

(Image via A Drifting Cowboy)
(Image via A Drifting Cowboy)

My prediction in my review of Black Hills Ambush that the Rocky Lane films would likely all follow the same trajectory was correct. Again, Rocky “comes to town, hatches a plan to get the bad guys, and finds himself in trouble before ultimately finding victory,” as I described it previously. Since I expected this to be the case, though, the formula doesn’t feel tiresome.

A lot can be said for films that break the mold, but at the same time, part of the fun of watching genre films is that they are so formulaic. I put this film on when I had an hour to kill and got exactly what I expected from it: a short, exciting tale of the West’s lawlessness with plenty of action. It served its purpose of providing me with 60 minutes of entertainment, and that’s all I can ask of it!

Did it boost my appreciation of the Western genre? YES
The score: 4/5

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