Rider from Tucson (1950): Guest Review

RiderFromTucsonPosterRider from Tucson is an enjoyable Tim Holt Western filmed largely in the Alabama Hills outside Lone Pine, California. Tim plays Dave Saunders, the same name he went by in his previous film, Storm Over Wyoming (1950).

Dave and his buddy Chito (the irrepressible Richard Martin) are riding in the Tucson Rodeo when they receive word an old friend is getting married in Colorado and wants them to be his best men. When Dave and Chito arrive for the wedding, their friend Tug (William Phipps) is being stalked by several people who want to find and steal his gold mine claim, and Tug’s bride-to-be Jane (Elaine Riley) is soon kidnapped to increase the pressure on Tug. Needless to say, Dave and Chito immediately set out to help Tug and Jane, taking on all the villains, including the greedy, murderous Gypsy (Veda Ann Borg).

The script for this one, by Ed Earl Repp, is on the creaky side — but the movie is 60 fast-paced minutes with Holt, Martin, and Nicholas Musuraca’s gorgeous photography of the Alabama Hills, and sometimes that’s plenty! I enjoyed it.

The movie exists in the same “B” Western never-never land inhabited by Roy Rogers, where you’re never quite sure what era it is; the opening rodeo scene appears to be set in modern-day Arizona, with some nice footage of the Tucson Rodeo. (It reminded me a lot of the rodeo held in Bridgeport in the High Sierras.) But as soon as Dave and Chito arrive in Colorado, it’s apparent we’re in the 1800s after all!

Though the movie was set in Colorado, most of it was filmed in California’s Alabama Hills, an area used in countless Westerns; it’s even posed as more exotic locations, such as standing in for India in Gunga Din (1939). A couple of my own photos of the area where the movie was made can be found here and here.

Rider from Tucson was directed by Lesley Selander.This movie is available from the Warner Archive in the 10-film Tim Holt Western Classics Collection, Vol. 3.

Laura G. is a proofreader and homeschooling parent who is a lifelong film enthusiast.  Laura’s thoughts on classic films, Disney, and other topics can be found at Laura’s Miscellaneous Musings, established in 2005.