Great Early Randolph Scott
The Fighting Westerner aka The Rocky Mountain Mystery, exists in that parallel universe where the old west never really ended but continued on well into the nineteen-thirties and forties, usually inhabited by Gene Autry, Roy Rodgers, Tex Ritter, and sometimes even a very young John Wayne.
The characters ride horses, use oil lamps to light their way, and seemingly live a frontier existence under territorial law, all with six-guns on their hips. The viewer either forgets or is unaware that this is supposed to take place in modern times when suddenly the cowboys encounter modern cars, telephones, radio, and electricity. I sometimes wonder if the depression era children who were the films’ main audience actually believed the west was really like this.
This is an above average B-western and a great example of what modern experts are calling “horror western” due to their odd plots and sadistic mystery villains. I prefer to call them mystery or suspense westerns.
Rocky Mountain Mystery effectively mixes an Old Dark House plot with frontier themes. It’s not as chilling as I’d like but it does have a creepy fiend dressed in black complete with gloves, hat, and cape; a killer that prefers to crush heads in a hydraulic press but isn’t afraid to menace a pretty girl with a straight razor either! The ending is quite surprising and well plotted.
Slightly Better Than Average 30s Western
This is definitely a “B” type western, but Randolph Scott does his normal star role as Randolph Scott. “Chic” Sale’s performance as the “old timer” is very entertaining, the plot is decent, and everything moves along. Some interesting little add ins, like the two dogs. You can also see Ann Sheridan before she learned to act.
All in all a little better than average for this era.