5/10
Its Story Is Rather A Mishmash, But This Film's Historically Interesting Details Successfully Flies In The Face Of Any Sort Of Logic.
22 February 2014
This is the first of five Western films that the soon-to-be-popular character actor Guinn "Big Boy" Williams completed with poverty row Beacon Productions, Williams here cast as Ted Wright, a two gun toting ranch owner who serves as the protector and surrogate father for child actress Helen Westcott making her film debut as "Tiny" after the latter becomes orphaned. He removes the endangered tyke to his home, although her continued existence is a threat to evil hearted land speculator Bruce Laird (Claude Payton) due to her somehow having in her possession several maps coveted by Laird that pinpoint the locations of planned railroad sites. This plot line will, however, be of merely ancillary interest for those viewers who will enjoy contemporary social references that cross through the story via popular entertainers and their songs, showcased by a trio of Wright's ranch hands, who seem fascinated by the programming that they listen to from their portable radio set. Ted Lewis ("Is Everybody Happy?"), Rudy Vallee, and Kate Smith are mentioned, and a pair of Ford Model As play a significant part in the enjoyable goings-on. One of a small number of U.S. film directors who, because of his stylistics, realistically deserves to be described as an auteur, Edgar Ullmer, helms the production here, as quaintly named Joen Warner, apparently to mislead Universal, the studio to which he was under contract. His wife of a later day, Sherle Castle (as Shirley Alexander), is responsible for the script. The title is a bit incongruous since no thunder can be heard, and the piece is filmed in California's Kern County rather than Texas. A good 35mm. print can be found in VHS format upon the VCI label. It is also produced (as is) by Alpha Video as a DVD.
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