The Return of the Durango Kid (1945)

58 mins | Western | 19 April 1945

Director:

Derwin Abrahams

Producer:

Colbert Clark

Cinematographer:

Glen Gano

Editor:

Aaron Stell

Production Designers:

Lionel Banks, Charles Clague

Production Company:

Columbia Pictures Corp.
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HISTORY

The film opens with the following prologue: "During the pioneering days of the West, some unscrupulous men, greedy for money and power, flouted the law and trampled the rights of the early settlers. But there were other men willing to risk their lives in defense of people unable to protect themselves. Such was the Durango Kid, a mysterious masked rider whose name became a by-word in Texas 1875." A HR production chart places "Cowboy" Eddie Evans in the cast, but his appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. This film was the first in Columbia's "The Durango Kid" series, which consisted of sixty-three films, many of which re-used footage from previous entries in the series. Charles Starrett starred as "The Durango Kid" in all of the films, and the last entry in the series, the 1952 picture The Kid from Broken Gun , was also Starrett's last film. Although Starrett originally appeared as "The Durango Kid" in the 1940 Columbia film entitled The Durango Kid (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ; F3.1150) and portrayed a radio star known as "The Durango Kid" in the Feb 1945 film Sagebrush Heroes , four years passed before the studio decided to create a series around the character. Starrett donned the mask of "The Durango Kid" in all of the films, but the name of the character that he portrayed changed from picture to picture. Tex Harding appeared as Starrett's sidekick for the first year of the series. In 1946, Smiley Burnette joined the cast as Starrett's sidekick "Smiley," a role he played until the series ... More Less

The film opens with the following prologue: "During the pioneering days of the West, some unscrupulous men, greedy for money and power, flouted the law and trampled the rights of the early settlers. But there were other men willing to risk their lives in defense of people unable to protect themselves. Such was the Durango Kid, a mysterious masked rider whose name became a by-word in Texas 1875." A HR production chart places "Cowboy" Eddie Evans in the cast, but his appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. This film was the first in Columbia's "The Durango Kid" series, which consisted of sixty-three films, many of which re-used footage from previous entries in the series. Charles Starrett starred as "The Durango Kid" in all of the films, and the last entry in the series, the 1952 picture The Kid from Broken Gun , was also Starrett's last film. Although Starrett originally appeared as "The Durango Kid" in the 1940 Columbia film entitled The Durango Kid (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ; F3.1150) and portrayed a radio star known as "The Durango Kid" in the Feb 1945 film Sagebrush Heroes , four years passed before the studio decided to create a series around the character. Starrett donned the mask of "The Durango Kid" in all of the films, but the name of the character that he portrayed changed from picture to picture. Tex Harding appeared as Starrett's sidekick for the first year of the series. In 1946, Smiley Burnette joined the cast as Starrett's sidekick "Smiley," a role he played until the series ended in 1952. For additional information on the series, please consult the Series Index. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
5 May 1945.
---
Daily Variety
20 Apr 45
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Jun 44
p. 26.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Jul 44
p. 1.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
17 Mar 45
p. 2366.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
5 May 45
p. 2434.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
Orig scr, Orig scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
SOURCES
SONGS
"When They Fiddle Out the Polka," words and music by Eddie Seiler, Al J. Neiburg and Sol Marcus
"He Holds the Lantern (While His Mother Cuts the Wood)," words and music by Lanny Grey, Arthur Terker and Roy Jacobs
"Old Pinto (and His Cowboy Pal)," composers undetermined.
DETAILS
Series:
Release Date:
19 April 1945
Production Date:
5 June--15 June 1944
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
19 April 1945
Copyright Number:
LP13278
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
58
Length(in feet):
5,223
Length(in reels):
6
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
10235
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1875, when outlaws hold up the stage bound for Silver City, Texas, and discover that the payroll is missing, they demand the passengers' jewelry and money instead. Bill Bladen, one of the passengers, protests the seizure of his watch, while Paradise Flo, a saucy saloon singer, directs them to her handbag under the seat, where they find the payroll. Later, in town, Leland Kirby, the lawless proprietor of the Crystal Palace saloon, praises Paradise for pointing his men to the payroll. At the stage depot, meanwhile, Bill learns from Buckskin Liz, the hardy old woman who owns the line, that Kirby runs the town and was probably the man behind the theft of his watch. Bill proceeds to the saloon, where one of Kirby's men taunts him with the watch. Claiming that the watch belonged to his father, Bill demands its return, and when the man refuses, Bill shoots out the lights, reclaims his watch and leaves. Back at the stage depot, Bill tells Buckskin that he came to Silver City to exonerate his late father, who was framed by outlaws. In response, Buckskin offers Bill a job driving the stage with her employees, Jim and Curly. Later, as Kirby divides the stolen payroll in his office, a masked fighter for law and order known as The Durango Kid emerges from the shadows and demands the money, which he then tosses into Buckskin's window. The next day, Tom Wagner, a real estate investor, cautions Buckskin about her poor financial situation and offers to buy the stage line, causing Bill to wonder about his sudden concern. When the outlaws attack the stage ... +


In 1875, when outlaws hold up the stage bound for Silver City, Texas, and discover that the payroll is missing, they demand the passengers' jewelry and money instead. Bill Bladen, one of the passengers, protests the seizure of his watch, while Paradise Flo, a saucy saloon singer, directs them to her handbag under the seat, where they find the payroll. Later, in town, Leland Kirby, the lawless proprietor of the Crystal Palace saloon, praises Paradise for pointing his men to the payroll. At the stage depot, meanwhile, Bill learns from Buckskin Liz, the hardy old woman who owns the line, that Kirby runs the town and was probably the man behind the theft of his watch. Bill proceeds to the saloon, where one of Kirby's men taunts him with the watch. Claiming that the watch belonged to his father, Bill demands its return, and when the man refuses, Bill shoots out the lights, reclaims his watch and leaves. Back at the stage depot, Bill tells Buckskin that he came to Silver City to exonerate his late father, who was framed by outlaws. In response, Buckskin offers Bill a job driving the stage with her employees, Jim and Curly. Later, as Kirby divides the stolen payroll in his office, a masked fighter for law and order known as The Durango Kid emerges from the shadows and demands the money, which he then tosses into Buckskin's window. The next day, Tom Wagner, a real estate investor, cautions Buckskin about her poor financial situation and offers to buy the stage line, causing Bill to wonder about his sudden concern. When the outlaws attack the stage again, Jim and Bill jump off the coach and run away, abandoning the strongbox to the bandits. After the outlaws ride away, Curly and Jim reboard the stage and deliver the real strongbox, which was hidden under the seat, while Bill decoys the bandits. When the thieves pry open the stolen box, it explodes, and Kirby vows revenge on Bill for deceiving him. Disapproving of Kirby's tactics, the entertainers at the Crystal Palace quit and go to work for Buckskin. To thwart Bill and Buckskin, Kirby orders Wagner to hire Tom Richards and Luke Blane to pose as miners and seek employment at the stage line. When Kirby's men attack a gold shipment, Jim and Bill chase them away, then discover that Tom and Luke have driven away with the gold. That night, Bill and Jim come upon the outlaws' camp, and after overpowering Tom and Luke, they don their jackets and knock out Ringo and Cherokee, two of Kirby's men. Knowing that Ringo and Cherokee will think that they were double- crossed by Luke and Tom, Bill leaves them behind while he and Jim deliver the gold, along with Luke and Tom, to the nearest sheriff. Upon returning to Silver City, Bill informs Wagner that the gold has been stolen, and as Wagner hurries to tell Kirby the good news, Ringo and Cherokee ride into town. As Bill listens at Kirby's window, Ringo and Cherokee report that Tom and Luke stole the gold, causing Kirby to accuse Wagner of betraying him because he hired the two. When Kirby orders Wagner to return the gold in twenty-four hours, the panicky Wagner hurries to his office, where he is confronted by Bill. After Bill tricks Wagner into providing the evidence to clear his father and implicate Kirby in the robberies, Kirby bursts into the office, grabs Bill's gun and shoots Wagner. When Bill is arrested for murder, Paradise, overcome with guilt for her association with Kirby, visits Bill at his cell and passes a gun to him through the bars. After she leaves, Bill hands the gun over to the sheriff, winning the lawman's confidence. In return, the sheriff allows Bill to escape and grants him twenty-four hours to prove Kirby's guilt. Riding as The Durango Kid, Bill terrorizes Kirby's gunmen into fleeing town, warning that justice will be served at eight o'clock that night. As the hour approaches, only Ringo remains in town. When Bill tells Ringo that Kirby is planning to double-cross him, Ringo bursts into Kirby's office and is shot by the jittery Kirby. As the sheriff listens from a back room, Ringo, believing that he has been betrayed, denounces Kirby for Wagner's murder. Still disguised as The Durango Kid, Bill then arrests Kirby, and when Kirby turns on him with a hidden gun, Bill kills him. With justice served, Paradise, penitent, leaves town, and Bill rides off to bring law and order to the territory. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.