Classic Film Guide

Desert Passage (1952)

Another in the series of several unconnected B Westerns starring Tim Holt, using his own name, with sidekick Chito Jose Gonzalez Bustamante Rafferty, played by Richard Martin. This one also features several other recognizable character actors including Walter Reed, John Dehner, Clayton Moore (TV's The Lone Ranger), and Denver Pyle. The film itself is average and nothing special, though it does provide enough intrigue for an hour's worth of entertainment if your tastes are not too discriminating and you enjoy the genre.

Holt and Rafferty are the good guys who find themselves involved in a situation which they'll see through to a predictable conclusion. As is somewhat typical, they will inadvertently work for the bad guy(s), at least temporarily, until an innocent victim woman sets them straight and they end up helping her instead. There are sexist overtones, acceptable at the time, which seem laughable today - e.g. the men are helpless or unwilling to feed themselves until the woman agrees to cook the meal, at their service. But overall, I personally don't find men assisting a woman who needs help offensive, regardless of the era. In this case, the woman is Emily Bryce, played by Joan Dixon, whose father & his bank were cheated out of his money by John Carver (Reed).

Carver, who's just been paroled for his crime, initially hires Holt & Rafferty to be his bodyguards, providing him safe passage to Mexico with the Lavic Bank money he'd hidden before he was imprisoned. His lawyer Bronson (Dehner) would love to get his hands on the loot as would Carver's former cellmate Langdon (Lane Bradford) and his associate Allen (Pyle). Carver's former girl Roxie Blondell (Dorothy Patrick) and her current beau Dave Warwick (Moore) would also like to get the money. A lot of the action takes place at a stopover along the way, owned by Burley (Michael Mark), who's mysteriously gone missing but whose dog continues to howl.  The film ends with the requisite chase and shootout in which the good guys' aim is naturally much better than the bad guys.

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