The Desperadoes, Popular mailcoach driver Uncle Willie is in fact in league with the town’s crooked banker. They plan to have the bank robbed after emptying it, and when Willie’s choice for this doesn’t show in time, he gets some local boys to do it. When his man does turn up he decides to stick around, as he is pals with the sheriff and also takes a shine to Willie’s daughter Allison. This gives the bad men several new problems.
“The Desperadoes” although released in 1943, was Columbia’s first color feature. Director Charles Vidor gives us some dazzling outdoor scenes and plenty of action to boot.
“Respectable” citizens Banker Clanton (Porter Hall) and Postmaster “Uncle Willie” (Edgar Buchanan) stage a phony bank robbery and plan a second robbery when a herd of horses is sold to the army. Gunman, Cheyenne Rogers (a very young Glenn Ford) was hired to carry out the first robbery but is delayed and Jack Lester (Bernard Nedell) and his gang substitute. After “borrowing” Sheriff Steve Upton’s (Randolph Scott) horse, he rides into town and meets Uncle Willie’s daughter Allison (Evelyn Keyes) with whom he falls in love.
In town, saloon madame, “The Countess” (Claire Trevor) turns out to also be in love with Cheyenne. There Cheyenne hooks up with partner “Nitro” (Guinn “Big Boy” Williams). Lester exposes Cheyenne as an outlaw to the town and a slam-bang saloon brawl ensues. Following the fight, Steve orders Cheyenne and Nitro out of town. Unbeknownst to Cheyenne, Nitro robs the bank on the way out of town. After being cornered, the boys surrender and are sentenced to be hanged by Judge Raymond Walburn.
Steve helps the boys to escape but is himself imprisoned as an accomplice. Naturally, Cheyenne and Nitro return to help their friend and the final showdown ensues.
Although Scott and Trevor are top-billed, this is really Ford’s movie. He and Williams form the usual western type hero and sidekick and Keyes is the real heroine. Scott and Trevor are really in supporting roles although Trevor does have a couple of good scenes. Irving Bacon provides some comic relief as the nervous saloon keeper. Also, watch for western veterans Francis Ford and Bud Osborne as townsmen and Glenn Strange as one of Nedell’s henchmen.
A fast-paced and entertaining western.