The Night Riders Confession: I nearly always find early b-Westerns more or less enjoyable, there’s usually a lot of pleasant easy familiarity and a lot of dated stuff that can or should be forgiven. Just switch off the analysin’. John Wayne made approximately one million of these swift potboilers before he made his name – the same year as Night Riders. Even good old Gene Autry didn’t make as many.
Baddies forge old document proving the legality of their claim to thirteen million acres of land – they promise fairness to the tenants but deliver harshness, endless taxes and death instead. How very like all politicians always! Wayne and his two sidekicks object to this and begin a fightback as mysterious caped crusaders – Los Capaqueros replacing The Three Mesquiteers. It’s the usual stuff, sub-Zorro fisticuffs and shootouts complete with self conscious melodrama: therefore all I’d hoped for, nothing more. Wayne’s cohorts Ray Corrigan and Max Terhune kept on mining the b-picture vein throughout the ’40’s while Wayne began his climb to superstardom and the making of many movie classics. Highly enjoyable non-serious time-filler!