The Fighting Westerner aka Rocky Mountain Mystery

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The heirs of the dying owner of a valuable radium mine are being murdered as a mining engineer tries to uncover the killer and clear his cousin’s name.

ACTORS :  Randolph Scott, Charles ‘Chic’ Sale, Mrs. Leslie Carter

YEAR OF RELEASE :  1935

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The Fighting Westerner aka Rocky Mountain Mystery  A mining engineer teams up with a crusty deputy sheriff to solve the mystery killings at an old mine where the owner’s family waits for him to die, and where a valuable radium strike may have been made. The Fighting Westerner aka Rocky Mountain Mystery

Great Early Randolph Scott

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.

Excellent Mystery set in the West

I quite enjoyed this movie. Randoph Scott was quite good as the agent sent to investigate things (I can understand how Cary Grant was supposed to be smitten by him at the time). I liked the production values for this 1935 film, it helped me know more about 1935. I enjoyed the story and was mildly taken by surprise as to the “who done-it”. The old lady was a “hoot”, I understand she was quite an actress in her day and quite a personality also: a movie was made about her and her husband, for some unusual reason. Loved watching Ann Sheridan and all the other actors (seemed like a stage play) who all seemed to have long and interesting careers. Loved the scene in Hawaii for some reason, maybe it tied up all the loose ends, happy ending, etc. I also prefer the “Rocky Mountain Mystery” title as opposed to “The Fighting Westerner” title that I bought.

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