Welcome to the first ever “Wild West Round Up” update. Now I am sure many of you are wondering what the heck have you gotten yourself into and what this update is all about…well let me tell you what this new themed update is all about! First thing, these updates will be a way to celebrate classic Western films of the past and I will be taking a look at films from the 1920’s through early 1970’s, and will only be covering films that are released by Alpha Video as I feel they are a company that holds the charm of the films that I want to cover, plus I am a fan of Alpha Video as they have released many amazing Silent Horror Films that other companies have ignored. I am sure many of you friends and readers did not know that I am a big fan of old western films and this is my way of sharing my love for this classic film genre. Each update will only have one film that I will breakdown and talk about the plot of the film and will also use pictures to do so. I will also very quickly talk about the films production as well as the lead star of the film, and sometimes even the director, as they are very important to the film as well. Also for these updates I will find a chili recipe online and cook up a batch and watch the movie while eating a bowl or two…and the chili and the film will be graded on a 1-4 star scale! This should be a fun time as Rotten Ink Ranch has been kind enough to allow us to sit around a campfire and cook some chili and chat about good old western films. So if you are ready, let’s start this first ever Wild West Round Up themed update and take a look at the film War On The Range. Also want to thank my friend Jason Young for the logo that will be used on all the Wild West Round Up updates.
War Of The Range was created in 1933 and was a B-Movie that was quickly made by Producer Burton King and Monarch Film Corporation in order to cash in on the American Western boom with the birth of talkie films. Director J.P. McGowan was brought in after a very long history of directing western films and was selected cause he knew how to make a film on a budget and make them entertaining. The leading man for the film was Tom Tyler who was a super popular western superstar who thrilled audience in the silent era and was still a draw in the world of talkies. And let’s take a moment to talk about Tom Tyler who really was a very iconic actor! Tom Tyler’s real name is Vincent Markowski and was born in Port Henry, New York on August 9, 1903 and had many amazing jobs in his life time from as he was a seaman, a coal miner, lumberjack, prizefighter, amateur weightlifter and finally landed on being a actor! Some of his none western roles that have made an impact in Hollywood are “Adventures Of Captain Marvel” as he played Captain Marvel, “The Phantom” as he played The Phantom and the Universal Monster movie “The Mummy’s Hand” where he played The Mummy! Tom passed away from complications of scleroderma and heart failure on May 3, 1954 at the age of 50. Other actors brought into the film included Charles K. French, Ted Adams, Caryl Lincoln, Lane Chandler, Slim Whitaker and Lafe Mckee to name a few. The film when released was a minor hit, but sadly over time it has been mostly forgotten and even has fallen into the Public Domain and has a middle of the road user rating on IMDB.
For this first Wild West Round Up review I looked for a film that I have never seen and one that had a star that I have heard of and enjoyed in other films and that’s why War Of The Range was selected! And for the first meal of chili we decided on “Creamy Italian Sausage Chili” a recipe by Emily Walker that sounded oh so fantastic! So I am going to eat a bowl of this chili and watch this classic western film and after talking about the films plot I will of course give both the film and the chili star ratings! But before we start the review I would first like to show you all what the Creamy Italian Sausage Chili looks like in a bowl with some cheese on top with a dash of sour cream.
This is going to be so much fun and something I have been thinking about doing for a few years now! And I will be grading both the film and the chili on a classic 1-4 star scale. I also want to say on my film ratings I am basing it on a scale that is for this era of classic westerns. So pull up a rock and gather by the campfire as its time to eat some home cooked chili and watch a western flick brought to us from the folks at Alpha Video.
War Of The Range
Starring: Tom Tyler and Caryl Lincoln Directed: J.P. McGowan
Not Rated 1933 58min Alpha Video DVD Full Frame
Tom Bradley and Tony head to the end of the ranch and see a group of workers putting up a fence, and Tom goes down to question them why they are doing so and is told that is own father Duke gave the orders. He is not happy with this and heads to Box Ranch to talk to his dad as he is upset that by putting the fence up it will hurt other ranchers who need to move their herd as it keeps them away from water and makes them go a longer route. Tom also says this could start the War Of The Range again as Bull Harris a fellow rancher is itching to go to war with the Bradley family. Duke yells at his son to go back to work and Tom and Tony ride off, just as this happens from the other side of the ranch comes Bull Harris and several of his men, and they are not happy and Bull threatens Duke with death, the only witness is James Warren who is a worker of Dukes…but when Duke walks away we find out that Bull really works for James and they are stealing cattle!
Tom and Tony while working the ranch see Bull and his men trying to steal the cattle and some of Bull’s men open fire on them! Tom tells Tony to head to the ranch and warn his father as he goes after them. Tony ends up capturing one of the thieves who before he can tell Tom who the leader of the gang is takes a bullet from Bull who is hiding up on a hill and does not what the secret out. Tom in turn opens fire and kills Bull’s horse who is forced to run away on foot, but Tom does not get a look at Bull so the mystery of who is stealing the cattle is unsolved. They are able to save the heard, run off the thieves and turn the cows over to the Cartwright Packing Company. They also get news that nesters have taken shelter on the old ranch house on the land and Duke sends Tom and others to run them off, Tom does not like this but does what his Dad tells him and rides off to the old ranch house.
The Carlysle family (Father George, Daughter Grace and son Jimmy) with a wagon full of stuff is at the old ranch home at Bradley Pass as the Box Ranch hands show up they tell the family they are no welcome and start bulling them as well as knocking around their belongings. Grace tries her best to stand her ground as she tells them that they now own this ranch house, but they men get them on a wagon and send them packing as the wagon is out of control, due to the men scaring the horses. Tom sees the wagon out of control and leaps from his horse onto the wagon and is able to bring it to a stop. Grace then shows Tom the deed to the house and land as his father Duke was not the owner of that land and it’s now the Carlysle family. Tom takes the family back to their home and tells his fathers men that this family is here to stay and to tell his father they own the land proper. As the men leave Tom stays to help the family move in, and Grace is shocked that he went against the wishes of his own father. Later in the day Duke shows up at the Carlysle home and he and Tom scuffle and Duke even punches his son in the face as the ranch hands watch on, and James is loving every second of this family meltdown. Tom shows his Dad the legal papers and this angers Duke so much that he threatens his son that he will find a way to get the land and run the Carlysle Family and Tom out of the state! He disowns his son in front of everyone and Grace is upset that her family has causes such a rift. And Tom is happy to see that Tony has decided to stay and help the family as well as he and Tom are friends. James on the way back to the Box Ranch questions Duke about if he is wrong on owning the land, and Duke says he is never wrong and tells James to go get the sheriff as he thinks the law might be able to fix this mess and get “his” land back.
Back at the Carlysle house Tony is trying to teach Jimmy how to mount a horse fast, and is goofily failing at his task. While Tom is also helping with chores around the house and its clear that love is blooming between he and Grace as they share glances and smiles. Bull Harris then shows up and talks with Grace and George and says he is there to give them a big welcome to the area as well as give them a proposition. Tom and Tony head to the house to see what’s going on, while inside Bulls deal is that he will give the family a herd of cattle if they do not allow other ranchers to move cattle through the area unless they get permission from Bull. And just before George signs the agreement Tom enters and punches Bull out the door and by gunpoint Tony runs him off the property. And Grace says she trusts the word of Tom who wants to alert all ranchers that they have permission to use the land when moving their cattle, and wants to also try and patch things up with his father with this news. And Tom takes young Jimmy with him to deliver the news.
Duke has just got paid for his shipment of cattle and James watches were he hides the money, as Tom and Jimmy show up to the ranch its untrustworthy James who informs Duke they are coming. Once inside Duke does not want to hear the deal that could end this war on the range as James has his ear and yells at his son. Tom and Jimmy head to a room to rest for a moment as well as gather Tom’s stuff, but Tom has faith in his father and Jimmy thinks Duke is a hardass. As Tom is getting his stuff the Sheriff shows up and Duke goes outside to explain the situation of the land deed, as James rushes to steal the hidden money he is caught red handed by Jimmy! James knocks out Jimmy and then as Tom comes in looking for his young friend James grabs him from behind and screams for help and acts as if Tom was going to steal the money! James acts as if Tom had Jimmy run away with the cash and now Tom is under arrest but breaks free and gets to his horse and rides away and the law is on his trail. Duke is heart broken over this all and once back inside hears the moans of the injured Jimmy and finds him and takes him to a room to get better, as he thinks the youngster can tell him the truth of what happened to his money and who is the thief, James agrees and is also very worried.
Tom has a good lead on the law that is tracking him for the crime he did not commit, he jumps from his horse and hides in a tree as the officers ride past him and follow the tracks of his horse. He does how ever drop down on the last lawman and knocks him from his horse and then punches him out, steals his horse and heads back to his dad’s ranch. Meanwhile back at the ranch Duke is sitting with the knocked out Jimmy, and is feeling bad for the youngster as well as is making him think of his own son Tom. James is peeking in on them and pulls his gun out and takes aim as he is going to clearly kill the youngster as well as his boss to get away with the crime, but he is stopped by Tom who has arrived just in time, but James is able to smash Tom with a chair and then escape. James meets up with Bull Harris and his men and alerts them they are all heading north and that they need to steal all of Duke’s cattle as they leave.
The Sheriff and his lawman give up the chase on Tom, as James leads his men into the pasture to start stealing the herd and lucky for Duke the Sheriff takes notice of them doing so and head back to get Duke and his men to stop the steal. Meanwhile at the Box Ranch Jimmy is awake and tells Duke that it was James who stole the cash and with that Duke has a change of heart about the Carlysle Family as well as his son as they patch things up. The Sheriff arrives and Duke goes to get his men as Tom heads to the Carlysle house as its in the path of the cattle rustlers and he has to make sure Grace is alright and unharmed. While at the Carlysle house Bull and one other man arrive and Bull enters the home and roughs up Tony as well as George, but Tony tries to fight back against Bull and by accident Bull even knocks out his own man! As Tom arrives Bull tries to shoot him, but Tony is able to yank the rug from under Bull’s feet and causes his aim to be off. Tom and Bull exchanged punches as the Tom finally knocks out Bull and Grace, George and Tony tie the knocked out bandits up Tom heads out to meet up with his dad to stop the rest.
James has his men take down the newly built barbwire fence so they can sneak the cattle out and across the Carlysle land, but James sees the posse lead by Duke is coming and they try and get away, but the posse does not stop the chase even with the cattle safe. Both sides have a shoot out in a wooded area, and The Sheriff is hit by a bullet and is injured badly. James’s men are loosing the gunfight and he gets on a horse and tries to run away, but Tom sees him and gets his horse and gives chase. Tom and James meet near a cliff and have a fight still while on horseback, and James ends up falling over the cliff to his death. Later at the Box Ranch Jimmy is still injured in bed and is visited by Tom, Duke, Grace, George, The Sheriff and Tony and they declare this is the end of the Range War. In the end its shown that Tom and Grace are getting married and that Duke has truly grown to love the Carlysle family like they are his own.
Review: War Of The Range is a good very cheaply and poorly shot western that uses an epic sounding title that promises big gun fights between feuding ranches but delivers a way slower paced story that is about a father and sons differences on how to protect their ranch and how to treat strangers. I really enjoyed the film over all and feel that while it was not very action packed the story was a familiar tale of bad guys never win and you are never to old to change. Tom Tyler does a great job in the role of Tom Bradley who is a good hearted man who just wants to be fair and do the right thing for all, its crazy to think this smiling cowboy would be wrapped up and play the Mummy for Universal seven years later. I was also a little puzzled by some of the camera angles used in the film as at times they are wide shots that just look awkward and lack the impact that they intended. It’s also very clear that the film had a very low budget as much of the film is shot outside and many sets that are used are clearly on sound stages. The worst part of this film has to be Tony the Box Ranch hand and close friend of Tom’s who was played by Billy Franey as this old man character is just so bad and brings comedy elements to the film that fall flat and most of his dialogue is just him saying “Not So Good” and that’s how I would sum up him in the film. But while that character was bad I did find Jim Warren to be a great cheesy classic western bad guy who smirked and hammed up the screen whenever he was on and Ted Adam was a perfect casting for that role. Caryl Lincoln who was the actress that played Grace Carlysle was also a prefect casting as she is super cute and plays the sweet girl next door who is also strong willed. I also love the over sold fist fights in this film that at times are so over done that it looks like when two friends are fake fighting in a combat sports event for the camera. Over all I have to say this is a good 30’s western film that is nothing special but does a good job of delivering an entertaining simple watch that has some fist fights, gun fights and has some really bad cowboy slapstick jokes. I should also note that the Alpha Video print is not great and has many flaws to it, but I loved it as the flaws brought back many memories of watching these type of western films at my Grandparents house growing up. Also the cover has Tom Bradley with a rifle and that never happens at all in this film.
Now lets talk about The Creamy Italian Sausage Chili and my thoughts on it! Making of the chili was easy and took Juliet 15 minutes of prep time and around 45 minutes of cook time! And first impression of the Creamy Italian Sausage Chili once cooked was that it looked really tasty and it smelled really good. And when adding some cheese and a little sour cream it looked even more tasty! When sitting down to watch the movie and I took the first bite of the chili it was a good creamy taste and the sausage really popped with the cream cheese flavor. And after eating a few more spoonful’s the flavor really kicked in and I found that I really liked the chili! It was not overly spicy nor hot and almost to be honest would have been a great dip for tortilla chips or even corn chips. In fact when we make this chili again as yes I would make another batch I might try it with corn chips. And the weather outside the day we ate this chili was slightly chilly and this chili was a great way to warm up and was a great meal to watch a western to.
Well I hope you enjoyed this first ever “Wild West Round Up” update as it was really fun as well as tasty to do for me as not only did I get to watch a classic western film, but I also got to eat a bowl of chili that was a great meal. While War On The Range was not an amazing film I also really did enjoy it as well and to be honest while I was really hard on the Tony character in the review, he did serve a purpose in the film and his friendship with Tom was well done as the two were loyal to watching out for one another. And to be honest I am looking forward to doing another of these updates that I will say should happen sometime in 2023! So lets put out the old campfire and cover up the chili pot as the sun is setting here at Rotten Ink Ranch and it’s time for us to turn in for the night, but before we do I would like to tell you that the next update will be a “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” update and will be about 2001 film The Mummy Returns! So until next time read a western comic or three, watch a western film or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next update for a horror filled adventure.