Stagecoach War (July 12, 1940)
Released on July 12, 1940: Hopalong Cassidy helps capture a gang of singing stagecoach bandits led by a happy fellow called Smiley.
Produced by Harry Sherman
Directed by Lesley Selander
Written by Norman Houston and Harry F. Olmsted from characters created by Clarence E. Mulford
The Actors: William Boyd (Hopalong Cassidy), Russell Hayden (Lucky Jenkins), Julie Carter (Shirley Chapman), Harvey Stephens (Neal Holt), J. Farrell MacDonald (Jeff Chapman), Britt Wood (Speedy), Rad Robinson (Smiley), Eddy Waller (Quince Cobalt), Frank Lackteen (Twister Maxwell, Holt's stable foreman), Jack Rockwell (Matt Gunther, gold mine manager), Eddie Dean (Tom), The King's Men (singing outlaws), Victor Adamson (townsman), Hank Bell (townsman), Bob Burns (cowboy), Rod Cameron (cowboy), Victor Cox (townsman), Ken Darby (outlaw member of The King's Men), Jon Dodson (outlaw member of The King's Men), Frank Ellis (cowboy), Art Felix (henchman), Bob Kortman (outlaw at campfire), Bud Linn (outlaw member of The King's Men), Johnny Luther (tall cowboy), Cactus Mack (townsman), Merrill McCormick (cowboy), George Morrell (townsman), Bill Nestell (barfly), Herman Nowlin (barfly), Tex Palmer (henchman), Cliff Parkinson (henchman), Tony Roux (stable hand Pedro), George Sowards (henchman)
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Most of the cowboy movies followed a predictable pattern . . . A good guy with a comic side kick . . . One pretty young girl, usually needing help . . . And a bad guy with a bunch of ornery henchmen. The Hopalong Cassidy movies also followed a pattern, but several of the Hopalong stories make a ‘left turn’ and toss the formula out the window, and this story tosses almost everything to the sagebrush wind.
The first thing I noticed were the stagecoach bandits. As our adventure opens Hopalong, Lucky Jenkins and Speedy hear gunshots over the hill. When they investigate they discover that the stagecoach has been robbed and the fellow riding shotgun on the stagecoach was gunned down by the bandits. Then we see the bandits loading the stolen bars of gold into their saddlebags . . . . Singing a happy cowboy song with smiles as wide as the moon. The leader of the bandits is called . . . . . Smiley! How can I get a good dose of anger at these happy, singing, murdering bandits?
Then Hoppy and Lucky get the stagecoach and the wounded stagecoach owner back to town, and we meet Neal Holt, a slick fellow who smirks and predicts that the stagecoach line has made its last run and he will get the new contract from Wells Fargo to run his stage coach. Ahhhh . . . . Now we have met the real bad guy for this story . . . . But wait . . . . As the story develops . . . . He ain’t so bad . . . . . What in tarnation is going on here?
This time we are in for one of those amazing stories that will not follow the cowboy formula for either a singing cowboy adventure or a ‘help the poor maiden’ story. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.
William Boyd as Hopalong Cassidy
Britt Wood and Russell Hayden
Eddy Waller and William Boyd
Frank Lackteen and Rad Robinson
Harvey Stephens, Eddy Waller and William Boyd
Harvey Stephens and Frank Lackteen
Harvey Stephens and Julie Carter
Harvey Stephens and Tony Roux
Harvey Stephens and William Boyd
J. Farrell MacDonald and William Boyd
J. Farrell MacDonald
Jack Rockwell, William Boyd and Eddy Waller
Russell Hayden, Bob Kortman and Rad Robinson
Russell Hayden and Julie Carter
The King's Men
William Boyd and Eddy Waller