The Dude Bandit (April 6, 1933)
Released April 6, 1933: 'Ace' Cooper pretends to be a coward during the day, but becomes the fearsome "Dude Bandit" at night to uncover the killer of his best friend and partner.
Directed by George Melford
Written by Jack Natteford
The Actors: Hoot Gibson ('Ace' Cooper and Tex), Gloria Shea (Betty Mason), Hooper Atchley (Al Burton), Skeeter Bill Robbins ('Skeeter'), Horace B. Carpenter ('Doc' Pettit), Neal Hart (henchman Jack Hargan), Lafe McKee (rancher Brown), Gordon De Main (Dan 'Dad' Mason), Fred Burns (Sheriff Jim), Hank Bell (cowhand Hank), Charles Brinley (henchman), Ralph Bucko (posse rider), Roy Bucko (posse rider), Frank Ellis (Bill), William Gillis (Hank Perkins), Charles King (wagon driver), Cactus Mack (cowhand), Merrill McCormick (henchman Ike), Art Mix (cowhand Art), George Morrell (hotel clerk Jim Kent), Pete Morrison (cowhand), Blackjack Ward (henchman), Slim Whitaker (cowhand Slim), Blackie Whiteford (henchman Pete).
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Sometimes when you are five minutes into a good cowboy western you know exactly how it will end. This is one of those movies - but don't let that slow you down. The journey from the setup to the final scene is an entertaining way to spend an hour with old friends from the old cowboy movies.
As our adventure opens, we watch Skeeter trying to tame a bucking bronco in the ranch, and gets thrown to the ground as a stranger on horseback watches. Skeeter sees the stranger and greets him like an old friend . . . which he is. The stranger is 'Ace' Cooper, an old friend of Skeeter, and his boss, rancher Dan Mason. Dad Mason had visited Ace and sold Ace half of his livestock so that he could get the money to pay off bad man Al Burton, who is trying to take over all of the local ranches, by hook or by crook. On his way back to his ranch, Mason is found dead, and it is made to look like a suicide. So Ace comes to the ranch to look into things. He wants to snoop around without attracting any attention, so he makes Skeeter promise not to tell anyone who he really is. By day he pretends to be a shy, fearful cow hand, but at night he dresses up in the fanciest cowboy outfit anyone has ever seen, and gets the reputation of being the 'Dude' bandit.
It isn't long before Ace and Skeeter are in the thick of it . . . oh, did I mention Betty Mason. the ranchers pretty young daughter? No? Well, of course Betty is convinced that Ace is a coward, and not good for anything, and Ace is conflicted because he wants to woo the heart of pretty Betty, but he must also convince her that he is a no-good coward. You'll have a grand time munching your bowl of hot, buttered, white kernel popcorn as you root for the good guys, and hiss at the bad guys, just like the audience in 1933 when this cowboy adventure played at the local movie theater.